When you start a business, you need to open yourself up to the possibility of bad online reviews. They happen to everyone, even businesses that are hugely popular. It’s also true that reviews are important. Studies have shown that it takes reading an average of four reviews for customers to form an opinion about a business.
But it can be difficult to avoid internalizing what people say about your business, whether they’re justified or not. So how should you handle online reviews without obsessing over them?
1. Respond As Soon As Possible.
One of the worst things you can do is leave a negative review unaddressed. Remember that potential customers are looking to see what others are saying about their experiences with your business. A bad review can lead them to a bad conclusion about your business but seeing how you respond and handle the situation can undo that.
To catch bad reviews before they can do damage, review your Google listing on a regular basis. When responding to a reviewer, be courteous and generous, even if you think they are in the wrong. Apologize for their experience and explain how it is not the norm at your company. Then, offer ways to make it up to them. Whether that is by offering them a discount or replacement or promising to fix the way you do things at your business, this can make all the difference.
Responding is also the best way to keep yourself from stewing over a bad review. You’ll know that you did everything possible to fix problems and leave a better impression of your business.
2. Look at Bad Reviews As Correction Instead of Criticism
Another good way to stop yourself from obsessing over online reviews is to turn them into practical advice. If a review says that your service was too slow, find ways to improve your time. Maybe that means taking on another employee or having a training refresher with your staff.
You can also say this in your response to the dissatisfied customer. Thank them for their critique and promise that you will use it to improve things at your business. Not only does this show that you take customers seriously, but it shows that you sincerely care about their experience at your business. Too often, customers feel like businesses do not care about their experience as much as they care about making money. Showing that you have recognized a problem and corrected it will paint your business in a favorable light.
3. Remember That Not Every Review Is Worth a Response
Reviews that are dishonest, angry, or seriously negative deserve a response. But most negative reviews are not that serious. A customer could leave a bad review over a slightly longer wait time or feeling like an employee wasn’t friendly enough. Gauge the seriousness of the review and ask yourself how the average person would respond to it. If you think it paints a seriously negative picture of your business, respond. Otherwise, leave it be. People will not draw conclusions about your business based on tiny imperfections. Trying to make everyone happy all the time is simply a recipe for madness.
Of course, this requires a measure of common sense and judging for yourself. If you want to play it safe, feel free to respond. Otherwise, let it go. The best thing you can do with a negative review is to right the wrong if possible (and reasonable) and learn from the criticism as you go forward. It is the best recipe for maintaining your online image without sacrificing your sanity.
At Transformation Marketing, we assist our clients in responding to reviews, both good and bad. Since we are slightly removed from the situation, we are able to do so with a more objective point of view, guiding them to a calm and courteous response that will let the reviewer and other who see the review know that the company cares without putting too much emotion into it. We are happy to help our clients in this way and continue to monitor their reviews on a regular basis so we can stay on top of their online reputation.