82% check a company's online reputation before choosing to buy a product from the company or otherwise work with it...
78% trust a company less if it has negative publicity online ...
70% choose not to buy a service from a company with a bad reputation online.
Source: SafeonNet (figures from a survey by YouGov and SAFEonNet)
So it's pretty safe to say that negative reviews on Google, Facebook or elsewhere can scare your potential customers away - all the way to your competitors.
First of all - don't panic. Yes, it's an annoying situation. It can be very distressing. And I'm sure you have a different version of events. But it's also (almost) inevitable in this day and age - where we can all hide behind our screens and freak out if we've had a bad day.
My recommendation, in short, is therefore to answer the review in a nice, fair, proper way - but still to respect your brand and not be "submissive" in your wording, without reason.
The purpose of dealing with a negative review can be several things:
1. To cherish the customer who has apparently not been satisfied with your product/service, in order to ultimately make the customer more positive about the situation and your company. Your second agenda may also be to influence the customer to either remove the review or to change it to be more positive.
2. To reduce the negative perception other potential customers may have when they search for your business and see the review. By responding, you can show that you are a company that has a clear vision and is committed to good customer service. You also have the opportunity to show "your side of the story" to a certain extent, if that makes sense in the current situation.
Here are the 5 rules of thumb I always follow:
A good rule of thumb is always to "think before you click enter". A momentary sour answer can quickly proliferate on the vast world wide web - and damage your reputation even further. If a customer is already angry and then gets a sour reply back, you're just adding fuel to the fire.
So - don't react impulsively - but act according to a logically thought-out plan before pressing "enter".
Most of the time, your customer needs to get rid of the anger. If they are then greeted with kindness and a solution-oriented attitude, they are naturally more likely to do business with you again. There's no advantage in answering back uncompromisingly.
There is a big difference between complaining and apologising.
You can regret something you haven't done. By complaining, you are not taking the blame for what the customer thinks you did - but you are expressing your regret that the customer had a bad experience.
Conversely, if you apologize, you assume responsibility and blame for the situation. Apologising is therefore in some ways a much stronger and more emotional "speech act" than complaining.
My recommendation is therefore to adapt your speech act to the situation. If there is no doubt that you as a company have done nothing wrong - you may well regret the customer's experience - but it will seem almost untrustworthy and submissive to apologise.
If, on the other hand, you have done something undeniably wrong, complaining will seem too empty and evasive - and an apology will be in order.
Want to know more about what else we advise on in Webamp? Then take a look at our about us page here.
Although a draft can always guide you, I would always recommend that you adapt your response in both detail, length and language style to the customer's message.
If a customer has written a very long, explanatory review - they are unlikely to feel heard if you respond to the review with two sentences.
Conversely - if the customer has written a short review, it can seem overpowering if you come back with a long one.
The same goes for your language style. If the customer is informal and relaxed, adapt your language style accordingly. You create an unnecessary distance between you and the customer by writing impersonally and very formally.
For the same reason, it is also a good idea to reply with your name and then your company's name, and not just "Your company's name".
It is important to make your customer feel seen, heard and listened to. Being "timely" is one of the key markers of being polite online today. Therefore, it is a good idea not to make the customer wait a long time for a response.
Needless to say, your answers must always comply with Google's content policy.
If you want to respond via your computer, simply log in to your Google My Business profile at www.google.com/business → Click on the three horizontal bars in the top left corner → Select your business → Click on reviews and then "reply"
On mobile, you can open your Google My Business app and do exactly the same thing!
Google My Business is also used to display your online business card.
Then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also reach one of my colleagues via our contact page.
Very good review karma for you!
A good start is half the battle. Bad beginnings are.... well, not good. If you don't have the resources to put together a well thought out SEO strategy, feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com or get in touch with one of my colleagues at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you're a generalist or a marketing specialist, our SEO specialists have put together some great advice for you on our blog.
Learn more about SEO in Webamp Academy.