Undeniable Tricks To Help You Manage and Benefit from Negative Reviews

Undeniable Tricks To Help You Manage and Benefit from Negative Reviews

You’ve taken the (necessary) leap to jump feet first into the ocean of digital platforms, competitors, and customers. It is, after all, sink or swim when it comes to owning a business — but are the waters full of sharks? Yes. But it’s full of sharks for all businesses — not just yours.

owning a business is like swimming with sharks

You’re talking online. Your digital footprint proves that! Your competitors are talking, your customers, and your employees are all throwing in their two cents online.

Do you know how you know?

Simple: reviews. Yup, both positive AND negative. The first trick to managing them isn’t a trick at all, it’s a proven practice — respond, to both positive and negative. This way you’ll be able to better control the conversation — otherwise, especially with negative reviews, the public that is hiding behind a keyboard has the conversational upper hand.

No business owner should want that or let that happen.

So what’s the deal with negative reviews? What are the best practices? Who knows — there’s no definitive rule book. You know what there is, though? Data to back up the following tips and tricks to manage and even benefit from negative reviews.

negative reviews aren't a dark cloud

Believe it or not, the same premise applies to negative review response as it does to positive reviews. How you respond to a negative review impacts not only the reviewer, but all the sets of eyes (and attitudes and customer actions) that come afterward.

Seeing a business handle a particularly challenging review online suggests that the business as a whole is proud of their business, their products, and their services. It also proves, undeniably, that you’re willing to go the extra mile to maintain not only your reputation, but that your brand truly cares about its customers.

4 Proven Steps To Manage Negative Reviews Like a Pro

Make potential clients see the light with these four steps:

  • Apologize
  • Promote
  • Get offline
  • Keep it simple

How to respond to negative reviews using the above 4 business-saving tactics

Apologize and sympathize: 
The first step towards fixing a problem is acknowledging that one occurred. Regardless of what happened, a simple apology and sympathy for your customer’s experience goes a long way.

Promote
: So the famous crab cakes weren’t up to par the day this particular customer visited. If they’re what you are known for, why not reiterate that? “Our crab cakes are usually a hit, we’re sorry to hear that they weren’t up to par when you visited!”

Move the conversation offline: 
Don’t open a can of worms. Keep the lid on tight by offering the reviewer the chance to reach out via phone, email or both.

Keep it simple: 
Avoid specifics and don’t ask questions. Those conversations are much better served in a space away from the prying public.

One last pro tip/trick: Leave your business name, location and category out of this. You don’t want your negative reviews showing up in search!

happy business owner

You Reclaimed the Conversation, Now Benefit From It

Being the stellar marketer/business owner that you are, you followed the above 4 steps. And now that you’ve responded and stoped crying yourself to sleep every night because of a negative review/mention, it’s time to use the situation to your advantage.

Awesome, but how?

It’s tempting to creep over to the dark side, but now that the process for turning things around is gaining some momentum, it’s time to do the following:

Understand that negative reviews aren’t the revenue destroyer that you think they are. In fact, less than half of polled consumers say they’d stay away from a business because of a negative review.
Additionally, consumers actually don’t mind a full spectrum of review sentiments. Consumers who have the opportunity to read the good, the bad, and the ugly feel better informed during their decision-making processes.

3 Marketing Wins from What Seemed Like a Marketing Fail

Let’s let Harry Truman chime in (who knew Harry Truman had the insight of a modern digital marketer!?):

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.

So, whether you’re a glass is half empty person or a glass is half full person — the perceived set back of a negative review needs to be redefined in your mind:

The facts about what negative reviews can positively do for your business:

  • They alert you to problems you weren’t aware of, so you can fix/improve them.
  • They give you an opportunity to improve brand sentiment by how and when you respond.
  • They can provide a search engine optimization (SEO) bump, since they add legitimacy (and trust and credibility) to your business.

When you have a negative review, it’s better to do what we’ve outlined above — but know that every failure is an opportunity — do you think Thomas Edison didn’t fail thousands of times? Amazon? Apple?

Just like we use data, as marketers, to improve our marketing campaigns, that’s all a negative review is: data for you to either use to your advantage or it’s wasted data that can hurt in the long run if you don’t wield it like a sword to cut through the noise and (instead) send the right signals — to your customers, your potential customers, and the search engines.

And don’t ignore positive reviews. They need love (responses) too! Have you seen our Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Responding to Positive Reviews?

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