Negative reviews are causing nightmares to businesses that have an online presence. Research done by BrightLocal indicated that over 70 percent of respondents trusted online reviews and treated them as personal recommendations, and over 50 percent stated that they would more likely make a purchase after reading a positive online review.
Hence, a negative review from a genuinely affected customer or one that is just out to defame you and your business can certainly have a negative impact on your reputation. Rather than raise your arms up in frustration or resort to sleeping tablets, you should use these tips to negate the impact of negative online reviews.
The first tip is to try to prevent negative reviews and comments from being posted in the first place. You must encourage all your customers to contact you first and must extend all possible help to resolve the issue before the matter escalates into a negative online review. You should keep your customers engaged as you try to solve any issues and can also resort to offering refunds and special discounts or deals to turn an unfavorable situation from turning ugly.
In case your customer does not listen to your pleas and posts negative comments, then the next step would be to offer your point of view on the internet. Several websites such as Angie’s List and Yelp will allow you to post your responses to any negative issues. If you have offered any special discount or refund or taken any other step to resolve the issue then you should certainly post it online. If possible, you should also convince the customer to post an extension to the negative review stating that the complaint has been resolved to his or her satisfaction once it is actually done so.
At the same time, it is also a good idea to garner positive comments and reviews to offset the harmful effects of negative reviews. If your positive reviews outnumber negative ones by a higher margin then viewers might not pay heed to the negative ones. You must get proactive in contacting your customers by email after every successful sale and encourage them to post a positive comment if they are satisfied. You must follow up with customers that have failed to reply to your earlier email to ensure that most customers end up posting positive reviews.
If all your efforts fail, you could consider taking the legal route, which will anyway result in collateral damage to your reputation. The unwanted publicity that you will receive upon going to court could be splashed on online blogs and forums, and could encourage other dissatisfied or disgruntled customers to post their own negative comments. Other customers may feel that you may drag them to court in case they react by posting negative reviews about you or your business. The legal route should be avoided as much as possible.
Negative comments can truly throw cold water on all your efforts to build a positive brand image. However, these above tips should help you negate the impact of such comments and help retain a positive impression on customers and search engines alike.