You’ve just spent months and months of your life brainstorming, networking, staying up late and getting up early building your new business idea. You’ve got your idea off the ground and finally launched your product. You’re looking forward to a warm welcome from the public when all of a sudden a negative review pops up online! Negative reviews can be discouraging, but that’s not the only trouble they can cause.
In the age of Yelp, Google Reviews, and Facebook Recommendations, online reviews are highly trusted and relied on to make well-informed purchasing decisions. Time Magazine reports that 51% of all millennials trust online reviews – even more so than the opinions of their family or friends. The power of online reviews is staggering and continues to grow as the presence of millennials continues to grow in the marketplace.
So, how do you deal with a negative online review to ensure it doesn’t wipe away all the hard work you’ve put into your business?
Turning a blind eye to a negative review is basically telling both the reviewer and audience that their opinion and experience aren’t important to you. Consumers want to feel valued and engaged; if you can do that, you’ll be creating higher brand loyalty and repeat customers for your business. This is just as important for good reviews as well. Ideally, you respond to every review.
It’s very important to make sure you have the right person responding to the review. This should be someone who’s knowledgeable about your business culture and will respond in a way that aligns with your brand narrative. Also, make sure you have a game plan for responding to negative reviews. That way, both you and the responder can feel confident in the response. Plus, there’s less of a chance to exacerbate a bad experience with a badly thought through response.
One crucial element of building a new business – or growing your current one – is developing relationships with your consumers. You want to make the customers, especially the one conveying they’ve had a bad experience, feel that their opinion matters and that they are being heard.
If your customers are upset and want to complain, allow them to do so. Let them vent so that you can understand their disappointment and formulate an effective solution that works for both you and them. And remember: you’re not the most important person in the conversation.
If it’s appropriate in the situation and for your business, offer to meet with them in person. This allows the conversation to happen in an off-line setting that’s not public for all of your other customers to see. If this is possible and your complainer agrees to meet, post a quick comment online that you’re looking forward to meeting with them. This lets the rest of your audience know that you’re:
Both online reviews and relationships with your customers are incredibly important when building your business. By addressing negative concerns in a proactive and productive manner, you can build lasting relationships while establishing your business’ reputation as responsive and responsible.