Bad online reviews are as inevitable as the occasional rain shower. If you spend time outside, you will eventually get rained on. Mistakes happen and even when you’re having a flawless day, you can always count on someone to give you a thumbs down anyway. Some are also bound to take their anger to online review sites.
What matters is your response.
You might as well view the bad review as a gift. According to a study by Lee Resources International, for every customer that complains, many more remain silent. It means that although you’re trying to make things right for one customer, you’re really addressing issues that have left others just as irritated. Fix the problem and a whole group of customers will thank you. If you’re lucky, they may even do so online.
Take a deep breath and focus on addressing the complaint: As tempting as it may be to defend yourself, especially if the review is completely unreasonable, don’t go there. You’re better off following the example of the Walt Disney Company, which pioneered a technique called H.E.A.R.D.:
Responding is more important than you might think: These numbers speak volumes: businesses that respond to reviews within 48 hours have an 86 percent higher rating than those that don’t. Although that percentage applies specifically to SiteJabber, it is likely to hold true in other places as well. Customers who receive a reply frequently delete their negative reviews or raise your rating to five stars just to show how happy they are. And even if they don’t, it pays to show others that you care.
Reach out to happy customers to keep the good reviews coming: Don’t hesitate to ask happy customers to share their good experience with the world. The more positive reviews that you accumulate, the less impact a negative one will have. Amazon customers are used to getting e-mails from companies asking them to post a review. And Wayfair rewards frequent reviewers with money off their next purchase. Keep an eye on marketplaces that matter to your business – AppStore, Yelp, CitySearch, Facebook, etc. – and try to keep the good reviews coming. According to SiteJabber, businesses with more than 1,000 reviews have an 18 percent higher rating and get 672 percent more leads.
Some customers are impossible to please and you have to accept that: Some people are simply the wrong fit for your company and their bad reviews reflect that and that alone. In other cases, you may be the victim of somebody’s bad day. All you can do is stay professional and disengage if the interaction turns nasty and personal.
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