So you got a bad review? Get over it!
In the age of social media, word of mouth has become world of mouth. Online reviews, like a wild child, can run rampant all over your proverbial home, drawing on the walls, muddying up the white carpets, tormenting the dog…
We completely understand, and although you can’t turn your customers into glowing review-spewing bots (sorry, the technology just isn’t there yet), you can change your mindset about the dreaded bad review; make lemonade out of rotten, stinking review lemons.
Accepted wisdom tells us that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and according to Reevoo*, 95% of your audience will actually look at you sideways if all the reviews out there are positive. They think, “Really? No one has anything negative to say about these guys? I’m calling bullshit.”
The occasional negative review might actually make your business look more legit than a perfect record would.
Obviously you don’t want bad reviews, but make life easier on yourself by accepting that, like a bad hair day, they happen. So, you’re doing your weekly review troll of the internet and you find it: the scathing review of your business. Now what? After you shout obscenities and curse the day the reviewer was born, it’s time for a game plan.
Here’s a handy blueprint for making the best out of a bad review:
1. Make It Personal – Don’t Take It Personal
We’ve heard horror stories about businesses that go on the offensive. DON’T DO THIS. Instead of making a Voodoo doll out of your bad reviewer, contact him/her personally and see if you can rectify the situation. Whether you agree with the critique of your business or not, find a way to apologize. But, actions do speak louder than words, so offer something in the way of compensation for their bad experience. There’s no surer way to get a reviewer to sing a different tune than some good old-fashioned freebies.
2. Go Public
The reviewer’s harsh words are out there already, like it or not. You can show your current and potential customers that you care about their experience by posting a public response to the review. Acknowledge their complaints and make nice. Show other customers that you’re working hard to gain their business and their trust by presenting the ways in which you went out of your way to compensate the dissatisfied customer and fix whatever problem they mentioned.
3. Make It a Learning Experience
Rather than living in a dream world where you and your business are perfect beacons of light and goodness, try to see if there’s any truth in what your critic said. Is it possible that maybe they were just a teeny bit accurate and your employees do need to up their customer service game? You, as a good business owner, are constantly trying to get better at what you do (right?). See the review as constructive criticism and turn an insult into an opportunity for improvement.
4. Ask For Shining Star Reviews
Have a few favorite clients? Friends? Family? Superfans? Hit them up for glowing reviews that will push the bad one(s) down and make it look like the anomaly that you know it is. There are many ways to encourage your customers to sing your praises. It can be as simple as putting a sign on the counter that says, “Review us on Yelp!” or upping your presence on Facebook and Twitter. Or go a step further and install a simple review widget so customers can rate and review you directly on your own site. This way, the positive reviews will drown out the noise of that negative Nancy.
5. Rinse and Repeat.
You (or your chosen marketing firm) should be constantly monitoring your online reputation. When you happen upon a positive one, throw yourself a 10-second party. But, when, inevitably, you stumble across a negative review, follow the steps here to ensure that your business is using the reviews as a mirror to reflect your foibles and as a ladder to climb to the top of your industry.
Bad reviews are not, as you may fear, a death knell for your company. They are simply a reality of customer-driven business reviews and you have to learn to make them work for you. You can’t please all the people all the time, but you can ensure that the displeased people don’t drag you down. Though we can’t control what our customers tell the internet about us, we can take the reins when it comes to how it impacts our business.