Online reviews occupy an important place in a customer’s purchase journey. It is important that you respond to negative reviews on Google as calmly and responsibly as you would respond to positive ones. You might be thinking, do positive and negative reviews really matter while creating a brand for your business? The answer is yes. A survey by BrightLocal says that while 94% of users are more likely to buy from businesses based on positive reviews, 92% of them also avoid a business based on negative reviews. So negative reviews can seriously harm your brand. The way you respond to unhappy customers makes an impact on how damaging a negative review is. This blog highlights the best ways to respond to negative reviews on Google and maintain your company’s reputation.
Did you know that 73% of all online reviews come from Google? Or that positive reviews can help you appear on the first-page ranking on Google? The following steps are proven to mitigate negative reviews on Google and help you engage with your customers:
Do not let negative reviews lead to anxiety or make you cross. Instead, you should assess the review and focus on the issues before you respond. Whether a customer found your staff to be rude or was served an overcooked steak or has an issue related to a refund, you should analyse what they say with a calm mind. Though you might be tempted to write a strong response and hit the “reply” button instantly, this is nearly always a bad idea. The sensible thing to do is discuss the matter with your team and come up with a calm and rational solution.
Response time is important. It’s widely accepted that most customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within three days or less. While you need to take the time to ensure your response is thoughtful, you also need to respond promptly. Whether your customers have left a negative review on Google or Facebook or anywhere else, respond to them publicly. This will show your existing customers as well as potential customers that their feedback and concerns matter to you.
When a customer posts a negative review, they are evidently upset. It’s not going to do you any good if you get into an argument with them publicly. The mature way to respond to negative reviews on Google is to apologise to them for their bad experience. You can start your response with an empathetic note like “we are saddened and sorry to hear that our service/product did not live up to your expectations”. Acknowledging their frustration and sympathising with them will not only relieve the customer’s anger but also add to your brand reputation. Make it a point to add your name and designation in the signature, which makes your response more authentic. Make sure your response is articulate and well-written. Your response is part of your online content and if you want to create good content it makes sense to allocate responsibility for responding to customer reviews to a skilled writer in your team.
While posting a negative review, customers often focus more on expressing their frustration and less on explaining the issue. You might get a single-star rating with a vague, unhelpful review like ‘simply unhappy’ or ‘totally frustrated’. In such cases, you need to find out more about what happened. As a rule of thumb, it’s always good to ask for more details anyway. This can help you find better ways to resolve a problem and more satisfying solutions for your customer. It can also help prevent you from repeating the same mistake in the future.
Once you have apologised to the customer publicly and gathered enough details regarding their complaint, it's time to move to a one on one conversation. Share your email address or phone number for the customer to get in touch with your team directly and resolve the issue.
In doing so, you are prioritising your customer’s query as well as handing over the matter to the customer service team who are in the best place to handle customer complaints.
If you do not offer a solution when responding to a negative review, your response is incomplete. In some cases, it’s a good idea to ask the customer to give you a second chance and visit your business or shop for an improved experience. If the negative review was regarding a bad experience with your website, you can use Google Analytics to understand how visitors behave on your site and interact with your content. This will give you great insights into how to improve the customer experience. It might be worth offering incentives to entice disgruntled customers back to your brand. This could be a discount, bonus points, free membership, or something else that will encourage them to connect with your brand once again.
When you respond to negative reviews successfully and resolve the issue, your business will be regarded as more trustworthy. If your customer was happy with the solution you proposed, you can ask them to update their negative response with positive feedback.
This can be very helpful. If your client posts that in the end, they were happy, this reflects extremely well on your business.
Always respond to a bad review logically and responsibly. Take time to think about it and discuss the problem with your team. If you are a customer-facing business, you will probably receive a negative review at some point. One or two negative reviews don't mean you are a bad business but they can really damage your reputation. When you respond with a calm and positive attitude, you instill confidence in your customers. You demonstrate that you really care about what your customers think and are happy to respond in a positive way. Your good reputation is hard-earned. It’s well worth the time spent making sure you maintain it. We hope you have found these tips useful and wish you the best with your business!
by Gaurav Sharma | 06 Dec 21
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