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Bad reviews, and how to engage with them

One of the first things potential customers see about your business is the perception of others.

Online reviews can be found of your brand across many platforms, from Facebook recommendations, and google reviews to Tripadvisor.

According toInfluence Central, 90% of consumers said that an online review was more important than having input from a salesperson, with 88% of them considering the reviews to be particularly influential when buying from an unfamiliar brand.

Product reviews can change opinions and provide a platform to voice opinions:

  • Building trust and credibility
  • Increases repeat customers
  • Impacts a brand's reputation
  • Highly recommended for SEO as it improves rankings by generating fresh and unique content.
  • Helps to improve products based on customer feedback

While having reviews in the first place is important, the quantity of reviews can have a massive impact on your customers behaviour.

When visiting a brand's website, customers expect to read up-to-date reviews with 16% of consumers in a Trustpilot study considering reviews older than three months to be too old. So in order for your enterprise to stand out on search engines, by collecting lots of reviews consistently - it will help you to show up more often. A multitude of reviews can make your brand appear more trustworthy while maximising online visibility and reputation.

Unfortunately, while these are par for the course - it is inevitable that businesses will receive the odd negative comment.

It's never nice to receive unpleasant comments, but it's important to handle responses well.

Giving a response shows that you care about your customer's experience and on the occasion of a bad review - you're able to own it and attempt to rectify it. It can be pretty hard to swallow, but may give a new perspective on something that hadn't been considered previously.

So how do you reply to a negative review?

Digital Impact have some tips for brands of any size.

STOP: Don't charge ahead hot-headed or feeling emotional. Going at it without pausing to think is sure-fire way to come across as unprofessional or rude.

EVALUATE: Get the full picture. Just because someone has been critical doesn't mean they aren't telling the truth, check emails, transactions or speak to your staff to understand the customer's frustrations - if they haven't given enough detail to identify the problem, get in touch and ask them for more information.

RESPOND: Most reviews are made publicly - and to and froing should be done privately to keep the issue between the two parties, however once resolved a public comment should be posted to demonstrate that you are willing to take on board customer issues and give clear responses.

Top tips for your response:

  • Make your response friendly by using their name unless it would be inappropriate to do so, by approaching the issue in a personable manner it reminds the customer that they're still speaking to a real person.
  • Acknowledge that their experience was unsatisfactory - be weary of issuing apologies without having all the facts, and thank them for using your business and taking the time to share their thoughts.
  • Take time to reflect on what information they've given you and detail how you'll deal with the situation to hand.

Perhaps your brand isn't at fault, as long as you remain polite and professional you should avoid any further fallout. It is okay to defend your brand and reputation when need be, and you'll now yourself whether or not your enterprise is in the wrong.

As the owner of an enterprise you may have lots to deal with, but dedicating time to your online reputation can vastly improve the perception that potential customers have. By showing that you care and really appreciate those who engage with you, customers will feel reassured and proud to support an enterprise with strong values.

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