In this age of ubiquitous connectivity, building a solid online reputation is key for the success of your business. As noted by Forbes, approximately 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. Moreover, consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling that a local business is trustworthy.
The truth is that 10 reviews aren’t too many at all, and if at least one review of your business is poor, it can really skew your results and make your products or services seem lesser than they are. There is no way to avoid online reviews, but there is a way to deal with them in a way that will make your business seem even more trustworthy and influential than before.
Taking Responsibility, Quickly
If you use Twitter regularly, then you know that it has become a forum in which members of the public often voice complaints, by publishing a Tweet mentioning a company and their experience with it. Complaints Base notes that depending on the size of your company, you should have one or more customer service staff members who are trained on how to answer these complaints quickly, asking the customer to contact them by DM and letting them know publicly that the issue will be immediately solved. The key is to deal with issues fairly and promptly, before the matter goes further. As noted in a study by researchers at Griffith University, using a human voice to answer complaints promptly, increases the trustworthiness of a business in the public eye.
Ask Satisfied Customers to Take Down the Complaint
If the customer is fully satisfied with the solution you have offered them, don’t be shy to go one step further and ask them to adjust the negative review. Of course, you should only do this once you have shown them that you empathize with them, and that you are working to amend any problem caused. Finally, you should show them that the mistake will not happen again. Once they perceive your level of commitment, they may feel that they trust your company again and view you in a positive light.
Putting the Balance in Your Favor
Numbers matter when it comes to online reviews, with companies like Amazon using star levels to indicate general conformity (or otherwise) with your products or services. Encourage happy customers to leave a review every time they rely on your company. These will not only move average ratings up, but also rank you higher on Google Search. You can obtain more reviews this way by simply asking your clients to review an item post-purchase (sending them an email reminder to do so), or by offering loyalty points for every review left. You will need to invest in a data-driven loyalty and engagement program, but it may well be worth it, especially since those obtaining loyalty points are more likely to leave a positive rather than a negative review.
Online reviews can make or break many a purchase, so it is important to deal with negative ones in a positive way, turning around a dissatisfied customer’s initially negative perception of your company. By offering loyalty points to customers and upping the number of your reviews, you can ensure that reviews left are more balanced. Most importantly, deal with customer complaints quickly and efficiently, before they even have a chance to post a negative review.