Still, Fuming Over Negative Reviews? Here's How to Take Action
Negative reviews can put a frown on your face for the day, but they are also visible for prospects. How can you keep these bad reviews from haunting your future business?
We are living in a world where people who would never share details about a project gone wrong to a newspaper or other mass media platform feel no shame about putting a negative review on Google or Yelp for all to see. The ability for customers and staff to leave reviews offers a new level of transparency into your business that can feel a little jarring when you first experience a poor review. Whether that is caused by an employee screaming about their sour grapes or a customer who felt like they weren't getting your best work, having these not-so-great details available for the world to see can leave you frustrated and wondering if you have options. While major review platforms will not remove a review simply because you requested it as the business owner, there are ways that you can mitigate negative reviews -- and sometimes, even turn them into a positive example of how your team proactively supports your customers.
Online Reviews Are an Important Marketing Strategy
Consumers love online reviews, as it allows them to virtually hear from other patrons of your business before taking the plunge. If you are not closely watching your online reputation, you might find that you're being hurt more than helped by the customers that you love . . . or love to hate. Surveys show that 91% of consumers under age 35 are actively influenced by online reviews, with a particular emphasis on being able to see that the reviews are trustworthy and real. That means stacking the deck with friends and family members, so you have five glowing reviews with few details simply isn't enough to encourage prospects to leap.
Don't Be Lazy (or Absent!) In Your Review Responses
Receiving a poor review online may make you want to hang your head in shame (or beat it against the wall!), but neither activity is going to help you reach the 89% of consumers who take the time to read review responses. When a negative review is brought to your attention, there are a few steps that you'll want to consider before hitting the keyboard.
- Take a moment to breathe before reacting. Many reviews are triggered by a bad moment in your customer's or employee's life and may have simply been triggered by an interaction with your brand.
- Don't reach out to the individual who left the review, even if you know who it was. This rarely ends well and can cause additional negative feelings and interactions.
- Once you've had time to research and consider the review, craft a thoughtful response that shows you acknowledge the issue and steps that you will take to rectify the situation -- if needed.
It's important to note that you don't necessarily have to claim responsibility for an issue to turn this negative into a positive. Simply indicating awareness and taking the time to create a thoughtful response may be enough to help future review readers see that the customer or staff member was being unreasonable in their review. At the same time, you look calm and centered with your response.
Proactively Drive Real Reviews
Consumers are smart and realize that reviews can be manufactured, which can make them extremely wary of all of your reviews indicate 5-star perfection. When you take the time to proactively request your current staff members and customers to create a review on your preferred platform, you are creating a more natural lift to your online reputation. Real reviews may not always be perfect, but enough 4-star and 5-star responses can help push down the importance of any negative issues and keep them from floating to the top of your company's overview. Asking for reviews doesn't have to feel invasive, as nearly 70% of consumers are happy to leave reviews for businesses -- when they receive a request. With consumers spending over 10 minutes perusing online reviews before making a decision, this small investment of time to request a review after customer interactions is time very well-spent as a marketing activity. Create a workflow around asking for reviews so you are consistent and non-invasive with your requests, and include helpful links for clients to make the process as easy as possible.
When you see an unfair negative review and you feel it is more of a personal attack on you or your brand than a genuine complaint about your business processes, there's a possibility that you can petition to have the review removed from the online platform. This tactic doesn't always work, but when the community review rules are violated, the review may be excluded. Want to see more examples of how to market your business and improve operations for your MSP proactively? Contact the professionals at Ulistic to schedule a free initial business review. We work with managed service providers of all sizes throughout the US and Canada and have over two decades of experience in the IT managed services marketing world.