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Online Reputation: Responding to Negative Reviews to Improve Marketing

How to Turn Bad Reviews into Positive Marketing Strategies

No business is perfect, and even if you try to run a business with good products or services and offer great customer service, you’re bound to get a low one-star rating on Google Reviews, Yelp, TripAdvisor, or any other app that offers customer reviews to online users.
What most business owners tend to do is to simply ignore the bad review. Sometimes, they ignore all online review sites altogether because they don’t consider the reviews of a few angry people to affect the profitability of their business. In a digital age where over 91 percent of consumers read online reviews, 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews, and almost 70 percent form an opinion on a business by reading up to 6 reviews, ignoring bad reviews can be a fatal marketing mistake for your business.
Instead of ignoring your business’ negative reviews, businesses who managed all their reviews and online reputation could turn what should be bad attention into a positive marketing strategy.

Reputation Management

Did you know that over 78 percent of reviewers believed that businesses should respond to reviews – bad and good – if the business cared about its customers and constantly improving itself. If you’re in a managerial position, chances are you don’t know a problem exist in your business until you hear it from your customers. And the best way to do that is to review the reviews written about your business.
Bad reviews can cause such a blow on a business that digital marketing agencies now provide services to deal with businesses’ online reputation. It’s more than just handling reviews, but it is one of the things provided. The bottom line is that it puts your business’ best foot forward while trying to do damage control on reviews and other online factors that could pull your business down.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

ReviewTrackers found that over half of customers expected businesses to respond to their negative reviews within the first week of posting. A good review only needs a simple thank you for the time the customer took to leave a good review that recommends people patronize your store. It will definitely help your business, so it’s important to acknowledge their review just as much as it is to acknowledge negative reviews.
How you respond to negative reviews, however, is much more different. You know the Tolstoy saying that happy families are all alike but unhappy families are unhappy in their own way? The same goes for unhappy customers. The first step is to read it carefully and understand what made them unhappy and what you could have done better to have avoided the incident.
The second step is to word your apology carefully. How you do this is up to your preference or protocol you want to put on your responses, but a good response should do four things:

  • Thank the customer for their review.
  • Acknowledge their concerns and apologize for it (and don’t do a non-apology such as saying “I’m sorry you feel that way” without really acknowledging that it’s partly your fault).
  • Assure them that you will use their review to improve your business.
  • Invite them to return.

The last one may seem a bit of a stretch, butthink of it this way: by inviting them to come back, you’re promising that your business learned from your mistake and will improve from it. If they return and find that you have indeed taken their review as constructive criticism, they would be likely to change their review to a positive one. If they do return and they still see the same mistakes, you might want to check with your operations and see what’s really causing incidents such as these to occur.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Not only should you be managing your reviews, it will look better if your business recommends potential customers check out their reviews. That doesn’t mean putting the worst reviews on your website, but it means encouraging people to view and leave reviews. Your customers will see that you are learning from your customers’ reviews, as well as the fact that your business is actively looking for ways to improve your products and services.
What SEO companies recommend is putting some of the best reviews on your website and then encouraging site visitors to see the rest of your reviews. You might be against giving them a link to a review site that shows you have a few negative responses, but if you’ve properly managed these bad reviews, it seems less like a point against you and more like you are actively learning from these reviews and are more likely to provide them with better service.

When you see a one- or two-star review on your business’ review sites, don’t be discouraged or choose to ignore it. These could be the reviews that turn potential customers away, so it’s best to acknowledge it and try to respond to it as best as you can. Reputation management services can help improve your online reputation in several ways, but when it comes to these bad reviews, a simple apology and invitation to return from the owner can be a huge improvement on your business.

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