For better or for worse, online customer reviews impact a business’ reputation.
Not only do 93% of millennial shoppers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision, but 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.
With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that getting a negative review can seem disastrous for a local business – but it might not be as bad as you think. In fact, there’s a bright side for local businesses that know how to handle a negative review with tact.
Since many review sites allows the business to respond, here’s how local businesses can make the most of a bad situation and turn an unflattering review into a golden opportunity.
3 Ways Local Businesses Can Turn a Negative Review into a Positive Opportunity
1. Start a Conversation to Clear Up Misconceptions
Just as it’s important to encourage and thank customers who write positive reviews, businesses should also address any negative reviews they receive.
Responding to bad reviews can be an opportunity to clarify misunderstandings the reviewer may hold about the product or brand. For example, the business might offer customer support or a suggestion to resolve the reviewer’s problem. If the problem can’t be cleared up in a brief response, encourage the reviewer to get in touch with the business by phone or email.
You could even think of this situation as an opportunity for the business to engage with community. Emphasize the fact that the business wants to make the situation right. Not only is this great customer service, but it creates a positive impression on anyone else who reads the review.
2. Learn and Improve the Customer Experience
One of the best ways to handle customer feedback of any type is to treat it as a learning opportunity. The more a business listens directly to its customers, the better it’s able to serve the community. Reading negative reviews allows business owners to learn more about their customer pain points, where things can be improved, and any issues that might need to be resolved.
Though we’ve all seen angry reviews that don’t provide anything constructive, some negative reviews do offer relevant insights into how the customer experience can be improved. For example, a complaint about being ignored when arriving at a restaurant could mean the front-of-house staff need to be more attentive.
Of course, if there is a recurring trend among negative reviews, the business knows it needs to make some changes ASAP.
3. Discover and Strengthen Bonds with Brand Advocates
An unfair negative review can spark discussion among other customers and reviewers. In some cases, a biased review can even elicit rebuttals from satisfied customers and loyal fans. For instance, brand advocates might come to the business’ defense or call out the reviewer for spreading false information.
Local businesses should keep an eye out for brand advocates who stick up for them or leave stellar reviews online. When businesses discover and connect with their most passionate customers, they’re able to build stronger ties with their community. Regardless of the context, increased engagement is good for the brand and its customer relationships.
Online Reputation Management for Local Businesses
Local businesses can’t afford to neglect their online reputation. If you’re struggling to keep on top of reviews or any other aspect of a business’ local presence management, our team of experts is here to help. Get in touch with us today to get the Advice Local advantage!