How many reviews has your company received online? If you haven’t checked lately, now is a good time to do it. Monitoring your reviews online is one of the most important components of maintaining a positive brand reputation.
In fact, sometimes company review responses are just as important as the original review, as you’ll see below.
Review responses just as important as original review
When a customer takes the time to write a review of your business and the experience they had with it, it’s usually because they’re either a) Really pleased with your business or b) Really disappointed with your business.
These two conflicting attitudes will produce equally-polarized reviews – some raving about your company, some ranting about your company.
If you only respond to the rave reviews, or worse, actually delete the negative reviews, you might feel that you’re helping build a more positive brand reputation. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
When someone is considering making a purchase, about 72% of the time, they’ll check online for existing company reviews. We bet you can guess which reviews potential customers pay the most attention to. Hint: It’s not the 5 star reviews, which many customers report as being “more likely to be fake or sponsored.”
No, positive reviews aren’t what potential customers are looking for. They pay the most attention to the negative reviews so they can anticipate any problems or issues they might have with your company and see how you’ve responded to the bad reviews.
In short, they want to see what you have to say for yourself.
The only thing that looks worse than a 1 star review is a 1 star review with no response from the company it’s written about. To avoid going MIA when a bad review pops up about your company, you need to know how to appropriately respond to negative reviews and spin them into something positive.
How to respond to bad reviews
You have 4 options when you receive a bad review about your company. You can:
- Ignore the review forever
- Delete the review and pretend it never existed
- Respond angrily or defensively
- Respond appropriately and make things right
Only one of these options will produce a positive outcome for your business, and that’s #4: Respond appropriately and make things right.
Let’s discuss why the first 3 options are ineffective (or downright horrible) for companies to choose.
Ignoring the review doesn’t make it go away, and neither does deleting it. If you ignore a negative review, others can still see it – and they can also see that you didn’t respond to it.
This is the equivalent of being called out by another person in public – “Hey, you’re the guy that stole my dog!” – and shrugging without saying anything. What happens to others’ opinion of you? They start to think that you must be the guy that stole his dog because he said you did and you didn’t have a response.
But if you chose to speak up and say, “No! You are mistaken. I didn’t steal your dog. I am allergic to dogs,” you bring doubt to his accusation and help boost your reputation a bit. Now, they can consider your side of the story, too. They can come to their own conclusion about whether you’re truly a dog-napper.
Bringing this example back to reviews, if you don’t offer a response to a negative review, it’s as if you’re endorsing or agreeing with it. Check out the example from a small business review above. The owner responded to the bad review by sympathizing with the customer, agreeing that it was a problem, and offering to make things right by replacing the pie.
The best method to take is responding to the review in a professional and customer-oriented way. Apologize for what went wrong. Offer solutions. Ask for another chance to make things right. These review responses will make your company look better than a lack of response.