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Why negative reviews can be a win for your business

Ryan Haidinger on February 19, 2018
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Overview

You’ve built your business to provide superior products and service, so much so that you actively collect reviews. As hard as you try, a negative review is practically inevitable. But as much as it may negatively affect your presence, it can provide a unique opportunity for you to positively improve your business..

Respond quickly to address the customer’s issue

There are many instances with online reviews where a negative review becomes positive when the business shows earnest interest in resolving a customer’s problem. Customer service is still valued and expected.

Contact the customer, empathize with the difficulties they are having, and propose a solution. Do not be defensive and attempt to tell the customer why you believe they’re wrong. Their perception of your response is key to recovering their trust

A bad review is an opportunity to show future potential customers that you take their concerns seriously and are willing to go above and beyond to solve their problems. It happens so frequently that it is referred to as the "service recovery paradox" where the company brand is thought of more highly by the customer even after they have had a problem with the company’s service. Your public profile of TrustSpot will be able to let other customers know that if they do have a problem it will be promptly addressed if you handle it properly.

Not everyone is going to have the same expectations

The majority of negative reviews aren’t out to attack you personally. They have an opinion about the experience they had, and not everyone is going to have the same experience. But you can review your product or service with a critical eye to ensure you are providing the best possible service to your largest customer demographic that provides the majority of your revenue.

Is the statement materially untrue?

TrustSpot only sends out review requests to confirmed purchasers, which significantly reduces the chance of an untruthful response. If you can prove that the comment is factually incorrect, and not a client’s honest opinion of the service or product provided, the review can be reported to TrustSpot.

Do not misstep if the customer makes personal attacks, uses profanity, or is providing non-constructive feedback. Be thoughtful of your online presence.

Is your business the right tool for the job?

Sometimes a customer will seek out the wrong solution for their problem. And when they realize that it may come out in a review. When this happens, try to understand what lead them to believe that your business could provide that solution. Does the description on the website not clearly describe what you do? Even better, is there a way to change your service to better address customer needs?

This is put best by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole. You don’t buy a drill for the drill, you buy it for the hole it drills.” Provide the solution for your customer’s needs, not just the product that should be the solution.

Is there something that needs to be changed in your business?

One of the main reasons to conduct customer reviews is to make business owners aware of problems that customers are having with their service. While the benefits to search engine optimization and customer trust are significant, when a single customer leaves a negative review there’s a good possibility that other customers had the same experience but didn’t take the time to make you aware. Value this feedback and analyse their concerns.

It’s easy to be too familiar with your own business to not see areas for improvement. Did they have trouble with the checkout process? Not find the exact product they wanted and had to settle on the next best thing? Their preferred payment method wasn’t offered? All should be valuable feedback to the discerning business owner. While resolving all of the customer’s problems may not be right for your particular business, an understanding of a customer’s experience is key.

Create a strategy for preventing negative experiences

The easiest time to prepare to address a customer’s needs is now. And an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Regularly attempt to review your business from a customer’s mind set, and take a look at how competitors sell to customers. Is there anything they may be doing that you should be doing yourself?

Companies may also choose to derive value from sharing feedback of negative reviews with employees. Are there lessons to be learned in all levels of the company’s organization? Or is it reflective of a particular employee or policy?

How TrustSpot can help

One of the most important features we have for helping to resolve customer issues is our "Respond to Reviews" feature. This allows you to send a publicly facing message to the customer to try and resolve their issue. If the customer is satisfied with your response, they can click a link and change their review + update their star rating.

Likewise, if the customer responds to the response email, you can start a good conversation with them to better understand the situation and try to help resolve the problem.

Ryan Haidinger
Ryan Haidinger

Ryan is the co-founder & CEO of TrustSpot. When he’s not thinking of new features or testing marketing campaigns, you can find Ryan at the beach surfing.

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