When considering a company for a new product or service, the first thing most people do is turn to Google to check their reviews. And not just the good reviews, but specifically the negative reviews. Small businesses are particularly susceptible to the power of reviews because they don’t have a huge marketing budget to back their reviews. So how can a small business make lemonade from the lemons of bad reviews?
Ways to Approach Negative Reviews
Negative reviews are an opportunity for reflection. When multiple reviews reference the same issue, this data can be invaluable to your business and its growth. An unknown problem is unsolvable. But an issue you are aware of is one you can address and correct for the future. Positive reviews reinforce the things you are doing well. However, they do not give you insight into areas where you can improve. One negative review can be the result of someone having a bad day. Still, if several negative reviews point in the same direction, it might be crucial knowledge that can allow you to move your business forward when addressed promptly and appropriately.
Power Your Response
Businesses are operated by human beings. Humans make mistakes. People who leave negative reviews are disappointed in what went wrong. But their bigger concern is that someone else cares that something went wrong. They wouldn’t bother to post the review otherwise. Potential customers are as interested in your response to the problem as they are in the problem itself. Responding with compassion and willingness to make the situation right, regardless of whether you think the review is valid, gives a potential customer the confidence that should they have an issue, it will be promptly resolved. This in itself may be the push they need to get past any reservations a negative review may cause.
Sometimes, negative reviews are based on a misunderstanding. The customer may have expected service to include a feature that it did not. In this case, you can politely direct them back to the portion of your website that clearly explains what is included and direct them to the other service you offer that fills the need they were expecting. Even if this customer doesn’t return, you have responded in a polite, emphatic way. Thereby, letting others reading the review see how you respond to conflict while giving you another avenue to point out additional services you offer.
Are Bad Reviews Better Than No Reviews?
The goal is certainly not to amass lemon reviews so that you can use them for marketing lemonade. Ultimately, having a strategy to ask for reviews consistently will ensure that the number of positive reviews far outweighs negative ones. Customers who have a positive experience are more likely to go about their day and share their experience by word of mouth than by leaving a review without a request or incentive to do so. However, a perceived negative experience will evoke emotions in need of expression to a wider audience. Making the best of those reviews can turn a negative into a positive for your business.
Small business owners have a lot on their plate. Toast Local specializes in helping small and medium-sized businesses maximize their marketing efforts. We don’t believe in taking shortcuts, but over time, we will make sure to put your best foot forward online. If you have questions or think we might make a good partner, please contact us for a free Google listing review. We try to leave every potential client with one action item to help improve their marketing efforts. We’d love to do the same for you.