Read this if you're constantly afraid of negative reviews, and how to turn them into revenue opportunities.
So far in this series of articles, we’ve discussed two key points: how to address negative feedback before it seeps into your online reviews, and how to encourage the silent 95% of customers to leave reviews.
Now we’ll talk about what to do when a negative review does come in, and how to turn it into a success story.
There’s only so much a business can do to prevent negative reviews, and encouraging positive reviews from the silent 95% does have its limits. Rather than seeing negative reviews as frustrating, capitalize on them.
They’re a way to promote your brand in a direct way with audiences, and can even lead to better social media, which means less money on customer acquisition.
Here are a few stats to mull over:
Purchase likelihood increases at 4.0 - 4.7 compared to 4.8 - 5 because people like seeing a mix of negative reviews.
72% of buyers say that negative reviews on products and services help provide depth and insight to make a decision, and another 39.5% say they build credibility for the product.
95% of people suspect website reviews have been censored or are fake when there are no bad scores.
A negative review can still damage your reputation and your revenue, but follow these steps and you’ll get the balance right enough that you’ll be able to turn the negatives into success stories.
Step 1: The review is fresh in — immediate first steps
The moment the review comes in, you or someone in your team must reply within 24 hours. In today’s hypercompetitive market, reviewers expect a response within this timeframe, whether it’s 3PM or 3AM. This can be challenging, as keeping an eye on when a review comes in 24/7 requires time and people.
Luckily, there is software out there that not only scans the largest review sites and collects all reviews in one place, it also lets you reply to them all from a single place. Ombea is such a software, check out more here.
Assuming you’ve investigated the source of the review and the people involved, you need to craft your reply.
Here, it is important to encourage the reviewer to get in touch either by telephone or email. Your goal is to get them off the review site and into a private channel. If done incorrectly, this can backfire. If you accuse the customer of being wrong, the situation might devolve into a flame war that will needlessly tarnish your brand.
This is why you must go in with the mindset that whatever the customer is saying is true, and that you’re taking full ownership of the situation.
You’re doing this to provide an image to the people reading the review. Once you’ve got the reviewer in your own channels, you can have a more open and honest discussion which then leads into resolution, and possibly the negative reviewer turning it into a positive.
Step 2: Reply to reviews in exaggerated detail.
When replying to someone, you could keep it short and just ask them to get in touch with you like we discussed in the last section.
Why would you want to do that?
Instead, take the time to write a lengthy, detailed response that puts the situation in the right context and explains the steps you’ve taken to resolve the situation.
Even if the customer doesn’t change their mind about the review, what you’re doing is winning new adepts to your brand. You are showcasing potential customers:
Exactly how your brand would respond if the situation would happen to them.
Your commitment to customer service, that if they ever have a problem someone will be there to respond and tend to the situation.
Even if the situation does not go your way, you are demonstrating to future customers that you are taking responsibility for what happened in the review.
What you are doing is creating the best kind of social media fodder for you to use and repurpose, which is the subject of the next step.
Step 3: Share success stories on social media
The same way you can never get rid of 100% of negative reviews (nor should you want to), there’s no way to guarantee that a reviewer will change their negative review into a positive one.
However, if you did everything right and the reviewer’s grievance was resolved, there’s a big chance they will change to a positive review.
Instead of having a boring social media page with boring marketing content, why not make it raw and interesting?
Here are some examples of what specific types of social media content can you create just from your public reviews.
Bring attention to the fact that your company turned a negative review into a positive. As mentioned before, this gives new customers the confidence that you are a serious brand that will take care of them, thus making them more certain of their purchase decision.
You can also repurpose positive reviews. Just take a screenshot of a positive review, post it on your socials, and link back to it so that people know it’s real.
Keep in mind that the lengthier and more detailed the review is, the better. This is because people are going to want to know exactly why this experience was so great.
If a particular public review celebrates a particular employee, highlight them on your socials. This way, you demonstrate that you care about your employees and celebrate their accomplishments.
Optional: Share the success with the sales team
Following the three steps above will surely help you bring in new customers from your negative reviews. But what if you could help out other areas of the business as well?
You can use the positive reviews to not only help your marketing and content teams, but also your sales teams to demonstrate value.
For your sales team, you can have them place review links in their prospecting emails, which builds credibility for your brand. For your marketing team, they can create the same authority in their content marketing or when creating ads.
Negative reviews will occur. You can choose to let them frustrate you, or you can see them for what they are: opportunities to boost your online reputation.
Also, having a perfect 5-star review isn’t as great as you might think — it indicates to the customer that something might be too good to be true. A more reasonable score of 4 and above is preferable.
To start turning the negatives into positives, agree with the customer and then take them offline, all this within the first 24 hours. Then, reply to the online review in as much detail as possible, so that future customers can see for themselves that you not only reply to negative feedback, but that you also take action. Then, use the success stories on social media to further drive positive conversations.
Now you have the tools to succeed with online reviews.
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