On-line Reviews – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Have you ever been so disappointed by a company that you felt compelled to leave a negative review online? We’ve all been there.
Community members: Reviews posted in your community group
We actively encourage members within our local community group Milnerton Neighbours – Find It Local to support local business. We also encourage members to provide positive and negative feedback regarding their experiences in the group, not only for the benefit of the consumer, your neighbour, but also for the benefit of the business owner.
In the instance of positive and negative reviews posted in our community group, we encourage members to direct their posts to the relevant business page on Facebook or to make use of the Reviews and Ratings section in the relevant business listing should the business be listed on this local Business Directory.
In the event of negative reviews, we always encourage the customer to engage with the business owner first, prior to publishing online.
In most cases where the complaint is relatively easy enough to resolve and the business owner has a vested interest in his business & customers, the outcome is 99% satisfactory.
Reviews are priceless!
Any review posted on a Facebook business page cannot be deleted by the business owner and most customers will take the time to view them prior to making the decision to support the business.
Positive or negative review posts in the community group will be long forgotten and move down the group page feed as new posts in the group are published.
Posting a positive review tells the business they are doing it right and encourages them to keep doing it right! Posting a negative review informs the business that something is wrong and offers them the opportunity to make the relevant changes in their business, (when the complaint is justified of course), and in most cases provides them with valuable information in order for them to rectify the problem to ensure that it does not happen again. If complaints are handled correctly by the business, they will retain their customers. If not, they will lose business.
Needless to say, if a business is providing poor service or product consistently, it will impact negatively on their business financially and they will continue to lose customers.
We cannot argue with positive reviews, but since we are not in a position to verify and authenticate negative reviews, we would rather a post in the community group refrain from mentioning the business name for this reason. Interested community members will engage with you privately should they want to know which business you are referring to.
Businesses have feelings, too
According to marketing experts, when criticized, “our instincts take over. We either pick a fight or turn the other cheek and pretend it didn’t happen, as a defence mechanism.” Some of us see criticism as an insult on our business or product and this is the reason we’re seeing more and more companies let negative reviews go unanswered.
Many businesses think that ignoring negative online feedback is their best course of action. But this has changed, and we no longer live in a world where the brand is in control of what to communicate to its audience.
Customers now have the ability to broadcast and amplify their negative sentiments with one click.
How the internet changed customer service
Before the internet and social media, consumers had to hand write letters or actually pick up a phone to make complaints. Nowadays, leaving a negative review online has become a reflex to express your dissatisfaction. After all, to voice your frustration to the world is just 140 characters away.
Because of this, businesses need to not only respond to every negative review, but they should try to leverage them.
Bad reviews don’t go away, ever
Regardless of how the situation was resolved, via hand-written letters or telephonically, it was still discussed privately and stayed between the two parties.
Now that the web has made everything available to everyone, whatever happens on the internet, stays on the internet.
Online reviews are also not just limited to review sites, they exist on almost every social media platform – making them incredibly easy to share. You know the saying, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity?” Unfortunately, this is no longer true in the age of digital transparency.
According to business.com, 80 percent of consumers changed their minds before purchasing a product due to a bad review, costing businesses their reputation.
For this reason, you should always respond to a frustrated customer.
Saying nothing is saying something (about your business)
For many of us, it can feel pretty personal when you never hear back from a business you made a complaint to. After all, you took the time to give them feedback, an acknowledgement is the least they can do.
As a business, ignoring a complaint is basically saying to the customer, “we don’t care,” or “it’s not worth our time.” According to experts, not responding to a complaint can “decrease that customer’s advocacy about your business by as much as 50 percent.”
Responding to a bad review not only shows the one frustrated customer you care, it also shows everyone who is reading the review – especially your future customers.
The impact of a negative review can amplify
If you think that letting one bad review slide won’t do much to your reputation, think again. Bad word of mouth nowadays “spreads faster than a wildfire.” We’re all over-sharers, and one unattended negative review can set off a slew of comments on your social media page.
This is because people have a tendency to bond over negative experiences on social media. In fact, 54% of customers share bad experiences with five or more people, while only 33% share their good experiences. (Zendesk)
Getting bad reviews isn’t all bad
No matter how hard you try as a business, you can’t be everything to everyone. And no matter how good your product or services is, it’s not going to live up to every person’s expectations. Fact.
But having bad reviews doesn’t necessarily make you a bad business. According to another survey “37.30% of consumers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews.”
Customers therefore expect businesses to deal with bad reviews. “We don’t live in a world of 5-star experiences…not all reviews are going to be 5-star.”
So while having a few negative reviews may add to your authenticity, you’ll want to make sure to respond to them accordingly so they don’t spread online.
Every review is an opportunity to tell a story
Online advertising is so important today, as is Customer service. Companies are competing in a space that has tons of competition and countless distractions. Good customer service nowadays “has the power to make your business stand head-and-shoulders above your competitors.”
Every negative review is a chance for your company to explain your side of the story and change the customer’s opinion about your brand.
Use it as a learning experience and embrace it as free feedback.
Make bad reviews work for you
When it comes down to it, negative reviews are inevitable for every business. So whether you’re a global corporation or a small coffee shop, you can leverage bad reviews as a chance to show off your company’s authenticity, generosity and of course – your story.