Nov 4, 2021
Marjorie Stephens, President & CEO
Open and honest communication is a necessary part of an ethical marketplace, in which both businesses and customers benefit from genuine customer reviews. When customers have access to honest reviews, they’re able to make informed decisions about where to spend their money, and businesses have an opportunity to address their shortcomings, improve their reputation and rebuild trust.
Bad reviews can happen to any business, but it is how you respond that matters most. Potential customers are not just reading what others have to say about your business; they also read how you reply to that feedback. Nearly 97 percent of consumers read company responses to reviews, according to a BrightLocal survey.
Tips for handling negative reviews of your business:
- Respond promptly. Consistently monitor reviews on various websites, so you can quickly respond to negative comments. (Note: it is also important to respond to positive reviews; that shows appreciation and could increase customer loyalty).
- Be respectful. You should avoid making denials or excuses, even if you have a different perspective on the events. Acknowledge their concerns, apologize for the mistake and illustrate that you value customer feedback as an opportunity to improve.
- Provide contact information. Responding online is important, but it can feel impersonal for the customer. When you talk to a customer one on one, they’ll know that you genuinely listen to their concerns. This also gives you a chance to reach a resolution that makes both you and the customer satisfied.
- Give it time. Customers place emphasis on recent reviews, meaning bad reviews will become less important as time goes on. According to the BrightLocal survey, more than 80 percent of people think reviews more than three months old are not as relevant. Time is even more of the essence with younger people. About 60 percent of 18 to 34 year-olds only consider reviews written in the past two weeks.