Everyone loves it when their business has high ratings on Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. It feels great as a business owner to see this type of public affirmation (as it should!). These ratings give potential clients a higher level of confidence in your ability to deliver your product or service well. Basically, they're telling the world that you deliver as advertised. Very important.But what about when that negative review shows up? Did you realize that you can actually gain credibility with potential customers online by the way you respond to a negative review?
One of our clients at JCI recently told us the way we responded to a negative review actually caused them to choose us as their partner. Interesting, right? Here’s why:
1. Positive Reviews On Google Don't Tell Us The Important Stories
Here’s the thing, most people will be at least a little bit skeptical of your positive reviews. And for good reason. Positive reviews often don't contain a lot of substance or detail. "Company XYZ is amazing! I am so impressed with their service. You should definitely hire them for ______!" Sound familiar? It's awesome that you have fans of your business out there, but people want to know why you're so great. Your online viewers who read your negative reviews are not only more likely to trust what they read, but are also 85% more likely to convert on your site.
Your negative reviews are more rare (well, hopefully). Your customers generally don't want to hurt your feelings or cause damage to your brand. Unless something that's a big deal really went wrong, they're not very likely to blow you up in an online review.
When it does happen, negative reviews tend to include much more detail. Even if the feedback is accurate or not, the way you respond to those difficult reviews can actually help you win more business and deeper customer loyalty.
2. You Get To Grow Your Credibility Online By Showing Who You Are
As a business, you truly care about your customers and their satisfaction. With a negative review, you have a chance to show that in the way you respond. Because you need to respond.
First, make sure you engage with the customer to actually understand what they were trying to communicate, while maintaining the goal of making any wrongs right. This isn't always possible, but that's what your business should be all about. No matter the tone of the reviewer, stay kind and respectful. But make sure you figure out what actually went wrong. This is important because it's easy to get defensive. Don't do it! Admit where you fell short. Here's 7 quick tips for when you're ready to respond to that negative review on Google:
- Admit where you were wrong or fell short.
- Stay committed and figure out a win win solution.
- Back up your employees, they don’t belong under the bus.
- Identify where the customer had incorrect expectations.
- Be kind and engaged all the way through resolution.
- Continue improving your business.
- Under promise, over deliver.
3. Be Real About Your Shortcomings (But Don't Be A Pushover)
Nobody wants to hire a company that thinks they're perfect or puts up a fake display of who they are. If you engage in a reasonable manner and are willing to own up to any mistakes or failures, it makes you more appealing and trustworthy. Dealing with real issues in an open and honest way, communicating both where you got it wrong, but also where the customer had unrealistic expectations build credibility with the impartial viewer.
Your potential customer wants to do work with a genuine business who owns up to their mistakes and is committed to doing everything they say they will do.
Another really important point here is that you also stand by your business and back up your employees if they're involved or named in the negative review. If you don't belong under the bus, don't crawl under there! Sometimes customers say wildly inaccurate things that need to be corrected. Show that you believe in your people, products, and process by standing up for your business.
4. You Can Improve Your Business By Learning From Mistakes
Yes, you wish the customer would have shared their thoughts in a more constructive way. And directly to you. A private email or phone call can be more valuable than putting you on blast in front of the entire internet.
Yes, they probably don't understand your side of the story. Or they sabotaged the project. Or their expectations were wildly inaccurate. Figure out where the disconnect was and and use it to improve your business. This is a fantastic opportunity.
A couple key areas to improve are in your marketing, and in your actual product or service delivery.
Make sure you learn how to better advertise who you are as a company and the type of product or service you promise to deliver. The better your product or service is marketed, the more you will wind up with a satisfied customer. You want everyone in your organization aligned with the way you talk about yourself in customer facing interactions. For more tips on how to market your business in a way that builds trust rather than making people hate your brand check out this recent blog post from Jared.
5. Be Glad Your Customers Hold You To A High Standard
Your customers believe highly enough of you that they trusted you to deliver on all your promises. While they may not have all the facts right, they're holding you to a very high standard. This is a good thing! Imagine if your customers weren't surprised when you let them down. This would indicate you're not the type of business that would be around for long.
Look for any truth in the feedback they gave you. It might not all be 100% accurate, but you can probably take something from what they said and improve your business.
Eventually you'll be able to go back and read those negative reviews with confidence, and smile like JJ Watt in this youtube clip. These can even provide the very fuel you need to take your business to the next level.
Customer feedback is worth its weight in something. Do an after-action review with your team and figure out how you can avoid similar mistakes in the future. Are there any processes or procedures that need to be tweaked? Nothing in your business should be sacred. Use these negative reviews to transform your business!
Just to be as clear as possible, negative reviews should be rare. If that's not the case, we have a whole different set of issues to discuss. However, when that occasional negative review comes in, figure out what the customer is actually upset about and do your best to own any areas where your company dropped the ball. Also make sure you are continually improving your business and learn from mistakes. When you do that, you don't have to remove negative reviews on google search, but turn that negative review into a win for your business.
Bonus tip: If the reviewer doesn't follow the forum guidelines and posts an inaccurate or inappropriate review you can request the administrators to take it down. You should definitely do that. He're a link to help you flag inappropriate reviews on Google.