Bad business reviews: They’re every business owner’s worst nightmare. A customer hated your service, despised your product and wants you (and the world) to know it. What else could possibly go wrong?
Hold on — calm down. Everyone gets bad business reviews. You aren’t special. In fact, surveys show that 95 percent of people share bad experiences and 87 percent share good ones. Forty-five percent share negative reviews on social channels, versus 30 percent who share positive ones.
If you pay attention to the numbers, it makes sense — you’re much more likely to hear from your haters than your fans, but it’s not always a bad thing. Why?
The Silver Lining
Here’s a secret: Customers love bad reviews. A little bit of negativity is a good thing. It helps your business look authentic. Sparkling, 100 percent positive reviews look fishy to the cynical, realistic consumer.
Also, bad business reviews help the customer feel informed. They know not only the benefits but also the drawbacks of doing business with you. When they make the decision to buy from or visit your business anyway, they do so with an enhanced level of confidence. They know what to expect.
But you can turn bad reviews into a great opportunity to further increase future customers’ confidence level. How?
The Accurate Bad Review Is a Chance to Improve Business Operations
Do you think what the reviewer posted has a shade of truth? Could you improve an aspect of your business? If you’re going to truly find long-term success, you have to address problems that crop up along the way. Is there an employee who’s creating problems between you and your customers? Could you change your products to prevent a particular response from recurring?
Take honest criticism to heart and use it as motivation to keep improving and make the experience better for the next customer.
The Inaccurate Bad Review Is a Chance to Showcase Outstanding Customer Service
Sometimes bad business reviews are just bad. They’re inaccurate, they’re bitter and they make you look bad. Denying the accusation only makes you look worse.
But there is something you can do about it. Every business has an irrational customer who will never be satisfied, but not all businesses respond correctly. Take the chance to do so.
Apologize profusely and honestly. Ask them what you can do to make it better. Offer a freebie or discount. Invite them to speak with you in person, offline.
Chances are, future customers will see your response, understand the irrationality of the reviewer’s original post and find it impressive that you’re handling their complaint with such professionalism. It will make you stand out.
The Reviewer May Become Your Biggest Supporter
Do you think there’s a chance to salvage the relationship between you and the reviewer? Maybe not, but you have to try, even if you don’t want to.
Do everything in your power to correct their perception of your business. Personally invite them to come back. Send them a free replacement. Go above and beyond to change their mind. That reviewer could become your greatest supporter, your ambassador to the rest of the world. How couldn’t they, when you make it your mission to make them happy?
Your Response (Or Lack of One) Matters
Sometimes staying silent is best, but only in rare cases, such as when the negative review looks like spam. But don’t ignore bad business reviews just because they make your blood pressure skyrocket.
It’s tough to stomach when someone is attacking the company you’ve poured your life into, especially if you feel like you aren’t in the wrong. But remember — you aren’t the only one reading those online reviews. Your future customers are too, and they see a lack of response as uncaring, or worse, an admission of guilt. Use your bad business reviews to your advantage: Respond with the future client in mind.
Better yet, use a system that allows you to head off bad reviews before they become a permanent part of your digital reputation. Use Accrue Reviews. When you’re able to address customer concerns right away, you are much more likely to resolve them and turn that naysayer into a believer.