Customer reviews are important for businesses of all sizes. For small companies, however, they’re even more crucial. Not only can negative reviews jeopardize those vital first impressions, but they can also damage the reputation that you’re trying to build. Unfortunately, negative reviews are inevitable, but in a world where the customer is always right, it’s important to address them correctly and reduce their potential impact on your business.

In this article, company formation agent company formation agent 1st Formation discusses how to handle negative customer reviews appropriately and suggests some top tips for attracting more positive reviews to boost your brand’s image.

Address the complaint

The first thing you should do if you receive a negative review is address the complaint. No matter what the issue is, disregarding a negative comment means your customer is ignored and the problem is unresolved. This can snowball into further negative reviews, which could intensify the issue if your prospective customers see that you’re unresponsive.

Don’t forget that if people haven’t used your services before, they could be apprehensive about trusting you. In these early stages, they’re looking for reassurance that if something goes wrong, it can be fixed, so building a reactive forum that they can rely on is vital.

Respond in a timely manner

If you receive a negative review, taking too long to respond could only make things worse. Try to reply as soon as you can, or if you’re unable to, consider an automated response that lets your customers know that their message has been acknowledged and they’ll hear back from you soon.

Some platforms (like Facebook) have an automatic function that shows customers your average response time. You should aim to address any negative reviews within the timeframe that they’re expecting. At the very least, a swift reply is always appreciated and can help diffuse a tricky situation.

Consider if you’re at fault

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Try not to jump to conclusions and assume that the customer is overreacting. Read their review carefully and consider if you might be at fault. Remember that everyone makes mistakes, no matter how big or small your company is.

If you are at fault, the customer is simply looking for an apology and a solution. So, in your response, address the error, apologise for the inconvenience, and offer a reasonable outcome.

Adapt your tone and language

A negative experience can make people emotional, which influences the language they use in their negative reviews. Don’t forget that these discussions are public and could influence other potential customers’ buying decisions. So, to soothe the situation, you should always remain professional and polite.

For example, if the comment is rude and aggressive, your response should be calm and understanding, even if the customer is in the wrong. Otherwise, if you reply in an angry or defensive way, it can simply fuel the fire, leave the dispute unresolved, and make your company come across as unapproachable and unhelpful.

Go the extra mile for complex issues

Depending on the nature of the negative review, it could benefit from a bespoke response. For example, acknowledge the issue online with an apologetic reply and advise the customer that you’ll give them a call to discuss it in more detail. This shows that you’re attentive and caring, and the extra effort will be appreciated.

Read before posting

Before posting your response to a negative review, take a moment to read it and make sure that it aligns with your brand’s image and values. You should also read it from the customer’s perspective – does it make sense? Is it easy to understand? Is it reassuring? Have you offered a solution?

Finally, make sure you check the spelling and grammar as this can impact your professionalism and trustworthiness.

Report fake reviews

If you come across a fake negative review, you should report it to the site immediately. You may need to prove that the user has not made any confirmed purchases with you before the comment is removed. However, if left untreated, fake reviews can be extremely harmful to your brand’s credibility.

How to attract positive customer reviews

While you can’t control what people say about your company, you can control how you manage what they say. Ultimately, the right reactions will influence more positive feedback, which will become more trustworthy than the odd negative comment.

Here are some ways in which you can attract more positive reviews:

  • Offer exceptional customer service – Identify ways to improve your customer service. This could be opening the phone lines on weekends, offering new ways for customers to reach you (e.g. via WhatsApp), or expanding your customer service team to reduce wait times.

Remember that a little goes a long way, and if your customers are happy, they’ll spread the word.

  • Listen – Customers want to know that they are taken seriously and not simply forgotten about when they put the phone down. It’s worth paying attention to what your customers are saying (good and bad) and following through with effective resolutions and improvements.
  • Ask customers to leave reviews – When someone buys a product or service from you, ask them to leave a comment about their experience. This can be on your website, social media pages, or an external review site.

If a customer has had a good experience, they’ll be excited to let you know. Equally, if they had a negative experience, you could use constructive feedback to learn and improve.

Wrapping up

Customer reviews are the foundation of small businesses. During the start-up phase, your brand name isn’t common knowledge, your consumer base is growing, and your potential customers are relying on reviews before they trust you.

Occasional negative reviews are inevitable, and some may be unfair, but it’s important that they are outweighed by positive ones.

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Lt Digital Team (Content &Amp; Marketing)

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