If you open your business up to online reviews, inevitably you’re going to get at least one unfavorable review. This doesn’t mean the business is doing anything wrong or that someone within the company wasn’t doing their job correctly. It’s just a fact: you can’t make every customer a happy customer, all of the time.
The good news is, your business is also going to receive positive reviews! And these positive reviews will have an important impact on the customers who end up reading those pesky negative ones. It’s important to get as many positive reviews as possible, so customers can have a more fair view of your business, customer service, and quality of offerings. We all know that people are more likely to leave a review because of a negative experience than a positive one, so here are seven tips for encouraging those positive ones to start rolling in:
Listen to the reviews you already have. If your business already has a few negative reviews, it’s important to review them openly and honestly with yourself. Are these reviews negative because of something you couldn’t control (i.e. they were in a bad mood that day, they weren’t a good fit for your service but insisted in using you anyways, they had unrealistic expectations, etc.) or something you could (i.e. one of your employees were rude to them, you provided a low quality service, or didn’t provide enough customer service)? This may seem obvious, but you aren’t going to get good reviews if you aren’t providing a quality product or service. If your negative reviews are due to bad business practices, your first step should be fixing that. If you’re seeing a common theme in your reviews, it’s time to tackle the heart of the problem head on. You’d be surprised how quickly the negative reviews stop when you refocus on quality.
Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. Because we know customers are more likely to leave a review when their experience is negative, it’s critically important to encourage all your customers to leave reviews. Customers with pleasant experiences often tell their friends or family about the experience, but don’t think ot put it online. Make sure you’re not just making the review process available to your customers via email, your social sites, or anywhere your customers are interacting with your brand, but that you’re actively encouraging them to leave an honest review (not just a good review) after you’ve delivered your service. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many people leave a positive review when asked to simply be honest.
Get social. Younger generations especially are so accustomed to posting online about every experience they have, they will probably be sharing their thoughts about your product or service all on their own. Make sure you have the proper social profiles set up, so you can be tagged accordingly. When someone shares a positive experience, make sure to interact with your happy customers and share their reviews! Not only will this create engagement, but it will spread the word about your business without you having to spend a single dollar on advertising. (Not sure where to start? Make a Facebook group and Twitter account for your business at the very least.)
Respond to bad reviews quickly and calmly. While your first (and very human) reaction to seeing a bad review may be to fire back: DON’T. A defensive approach is always the wrong approach. Instead, assess the situation, provide any necessary apologies, and see if you can provide a solution to the customer. Regardless of the outcome, thank them for their feedback, and reassure them that your company takes their reviews seriously. If the situation requires more than an apology, take it offline to resolve it. Offer to call them to work through whatever issue has come up. Often times if you give that customer a little extra attention in order to ease their displeasure, they will go back and update the negative review later to a more neutral or even positive experience.
Respond to positive reviews, too. People love feeling like businesses actively listen to their thoughts and opinions. By responding positive reviews, you’re also encouraging other customers to leave their own reviews. Knowing that their words are being read and appreciated makes happy customers more likely to engage.
More is better. Online reviews can often seem like a double edged sword: the more reviews you get, the more likely you are to get a bad one. There is no way to encourage your customers to only leave positive reviews (in any kind of ethical way), which is why you have to keep in mind that more reviews, even if that leads to a few extra negative ones, is better. 20 reviews comprised of 17 positive and 3 negatives is better than just 1 positive review on it’s own. People are less skeptical of businesses with very limited reviews and more forgiving of negative reviews when they see a lot of positive ones to balance them out.
Make reviewing as easy as possible. If someone has to spend time Googling your business in order to leave a review, chances are they won’t (unless it’s a bad one.) If you want positive reviews, you have to make the process as easy as possible. Whenever you deliver a service or product, you should subsequently be encouraging your customers to review it with a link or form that takes them directly to where they need to go, no searching necessary.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a robust archive of online reviews. Do your best to find a solution to the ones that are bad, and remember to engage with the ones that are good. Your current and future customers will appreciate these efforts.