Whenever I make a purchase, I always look at the reviews. I take into account what others think about the product or service because I want to make sure I make the right decision. I take brunch seriously; therefore, I have to make sure I’m getting a five-star experience. When I see multiple one star reviews, I get scared – is the coffee bad? The service? The atmosphere? However, what really grabs my attention are those five-star slammers that praise a business for something as simple as their french toast.
Reviews not only help drive customers but they can also affect your ranking in the Google search results algorithm. Reviews need to be handled with care by small business owners. Lets go over the importance of reviews, the importance of responding, and how we deal with the one-star feedback.
Importance of Reviews
Have you ever purchased something without seeing other people’s opinions? I haven’t. But, for you confident soldiers who have, I am impressed.
According to a study from Statista in 2017, the primary reason for leaving a review is to share an experience. Whether it be a good or bad experience, people want to share their opinion with others to ostensibly spur them on or deter them from making the same mistake.
Not only do people share experiences, but they also review websites. They want something that is easy to maneuver, and accessible. Reviews can explain how the website was not working or there were glitches, these comments drive consumers away from your product. To fix this, use a website builder to ensure customer satisfaction.
These reviews also affect how Google ranks you in the algorithm. The ranking takes into account:
- Overall count of reviews
- Count of positive reviews
So, the more reviews you have, the better the ranking. Along with that, the better service you provide the better the ranking. In fact, reviews can even be used to acquire new business through strategically sharing them on your platforms.
But, this doesn’t diminish the effects of the bad reviews given. Consumers still see these and take them into account when browsing third party sites such as Yelp. Responding to them is what can really help consumers look past the negativity.
Importance of Responding
Many brands only respond to negative comments about their service or product. Or, they choose not to respond at all.
Choosing not to respond at all can mean even the good reviews go unacknowledged. Responding with appreciation to the praises is one small action that, if brands took the time to do, would go a long way in showing consumers how involved the brand is with their customers.
It shows that the brand cares about their customers, good or bad, and will engage with them about their brand.
Last week I left a good review on ElkTracks Studio about a leather tooling kit I bought my dad for his birthday. He loved it and I wanted to post my gratitude to the business. Elktracks responded and it felt great.
I felt noticed and appreciated- and I loved it.
But, not all reviews are good, and brands must take action when they receive a bad review about their small business.
Responding To A Bad Review
Negative feedback is tough whether you’re an individual or a business. Whenever someone says something bad about you or criticizes what you have done, you may get hurt. So, we can assume it’s not ideal or fun to receive a less-than-amazing review as a brand.
To the owner and employees, the business is like their child – they want it to succeed. But, in order to succeed, every small business needs to learn how to accept these negative reviews and adequately respond to them.
The three key ideas when responding to a bad review include:
- Personalize: Show the consumer that your response is not some robot-generated paragraph; you are not the company, you are a person who cares. Use your name and make the individual feel noticed, heard and appreciated.
- Be empathetic: Don’t place blame upon their customer for their opinion, rather, focus your energy into improving their next experience.
- Be proactive: Fix the problem! How can you do better and keep this client? Maybe offer a coupon or a freebie; give them a reason to come back and give your business a second chance.
So what should our response to a bad review look like?
Start with a greeting, then, apologize for the inconvenience. Make sure to use the person’s name in order to individualize the consumer. Also, take responsibility for the business:
My deepest apologies for your experience at our store last Thursday. I am so sorry that our team here at Subway failed to meet your expectations; please be assured we are taking your feedback seriously and appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us regarding this issue.
Next, we need an explanation. The explanation must show accountability. To do this, you must explain how the mistake happened and why. Also, you should validate the customer’s experience by assuming it is 100% true:
The bad customer service you received does not uphold Subways mission. The employee does not uphold the Subway value and they have not been properly trained on the mission of this company. Your experience sheds a light on our service management in that area and we are taking action now.
After, we need to provide encouragement and a resolution. The response must show how grateful you are for their engagement and it is important to offer atonement- maybe a free service, discount or promotion code:
I am so happy you gave insight on the Subways business and it is very important to us. I hope you could give Subway another chance and I have provided you with a free sandwich and cookie upon your next visit. Though this does not erase the past, it hopefully will pave a better future.
Lastly, we need to sign off on the response. We must apologize again and express our regret one last time. Make sure to sign off using your name and full title:
Again, I apologize for the inconvenience you have endured and I am determined to fix this problem.
My deepest condolences,
CEO of Subway
By providing an appropriate response to the negative reviews, we give the consumer the validation they need and the idea of trying your brand again in the future.
Reviews are an important consideration for Google while ranking your website and are imperative to the customer’s decision of purchasing. Good and bad reviews are inevitable, but the important part is how you respond to them. By responding to the negative ones with a specific framework, you are able to show potential consumers that your brand is involved, proactive and a champion of the customer.
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