The Growth Series

How can you manage a negative online review?

BrightLocal ran a local consumer review survey in 2018 which found that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people between the ages of 18-34), and that 57% of consumers will only go with a business if it has 4 or more stars.

A negative review, therefore, would stand out and could seriously impact the number of enquiries you get.

Opening your business up to online reviews will always have its ups and downs. First and foremost, you’ll want as many positive reviews as possible to help create a terrific brand perception that drives further traffic and business.

The reality is, however, you’ll eventually attract a negative review. Here are some tips on dealing with these…

Respond quickly

Our digital world runs 24/7 and people expect an immediate response to online queries. It’s just as important to respond to negative reviews promptly before they escalate and attract the attention of potential customers.

Read more: How to use your reviews to generate new business

Take the problem offline and offer a solution

Acknowledging the issue publicly is very important, but resolving it should be done elsewhere and out of public view. Reiterate what the failing was that led to the review, and explain the steps you are taking to fix the problem. You need to give customers the impression that you’re doing everything you can to ensure the problem never happens again, and that you’ve taken the negative review as constructive criticism that will lead to an improved service.

Be polite and professional

Remember there’s nothing personal in a negative review. Respond politely using professional language that doesn’t place blame on anyone for the problem or create excuses.

If the customer is rightfully upset, it’s always best to be honest and open, admit what happened and give a sincere apology. Follow this with an explanation of the fault in your service.

This will show how important every customer is to you.

Read more: 5 reasons you should be getting reviews

Report fake reviews

Unfortunately, these do occur and most major review platforms will investigate potentially fake reviews that breach their terms and conditions. One way around this is to have a closed review system which can avoid fake reviews. Closed review systems mean that only verified buyers can post reviews on your site (and not your competitors!). According to the Spiegel Research Center, a customer’s purchase likelihood improves 15% when buyers read verified buyer reviews over anonymous reviews. 

Get more reviews

Once you’ve handled the negative review in a calm and professional way, and hopefully resolved the issue in such a way that the disgruntled reviewer changes their review to a positive one, it’s time to improve your image further. Don’t be intimidated by asking your existing customers for a review. BrightLocal’s survey found that 68% of consumers will leave a review if asked - they’re just waiting for you to reach out! To help, we’ve got an online review generator tool especially designed for brokers.

If you’d like to read more content on reaching out to your customers and growing your business, check out our Growth Series blog.
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