Did you know that customer reviews are a huge contributor to get you top Google rankings? Many consumers look at Yelp reviews. They also look at others like Facebook, Google My Business, Angie’s List, and Thumbtack. You have to look at The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Sometimes we don’t like the negative feedback reviews. They aren’t always 5 stars. But here is a tip. It is not so much the review, but how you respond. If you ignore it, you deserve the review. You didn’t bother to reply. Either an apology or an explanation, will improve your image to potential customers. They don’t always expect a glowing review. But they sure do look at how you handled one.
Responding to reviews will also improve your SEO. Did you know Google will give you a higher ranking if you respond to your reviews, whether good or bad?
Yelp recently won a battle with the Supreme Court of California. It was about removing a negative Yelp review, a case between a law firm and one of its customers. Yelp fought it based on the principal of internet free speech. Here is the article. You be the judge.
I love Yelps’ response at the end:
As we have observed before, litigation is never a good substitute for customer service and responsiveness and had the law firm avoided the courtrooms and moved on, it would have saved time and money, and been able to focus more on the cases that truly matter the most — those of its clients.
This fiasco reminded me of a blog article I wrote last year. I think under these circumstances, it bears repeating.
Lemonade out of Lemons: Handling a Bad Review
Do you freak out or become angry if someone writes a bad review about your business? You worked so hard and yet some of the people that receive your services didn’t feel they had a good experience. It’s like a soccer punch to the gut. How do you not take it personal, it’s your business your passion, your life! Can you turn those negative comments and feelings of rejection into something positive? Yes, making lemonade out of lemons?
A study by Northwestern University stated, “consumers think a business is more credible if it has a mix of good and bad reviews”. Yes, they want to see some bad reviews. If consumers only see shining accolades, it can actually damage your image. It creates skepticism. Are all those reviews real? No business is perfect. You cannot possible meet expectations of all your customers. When consumers review bad reviews, they look to see how the business owner responded. The response is the most important element. Positive customer service is what people are looking for. They want to see how you handled it.
Not responding is deadly to a business owner. The consumer may think you don’t care. Or you will be judged “guilty” as charged. Even if you think the review was not justified. Or someone being obnoxious. It might be someone writing on behalf of a competitor. You MUST respond. If it is a legitimate complaint, own up to it. Take responsibility in the comment. Take this opportunity to say, “Mr. or Ms. Customer you are right” and then offer to fix it. If you think it is bogus, try to find a diplomatic way to address the review. Your customers will see that the complaint was not realistic. For example, you could say in a nice way “my style is a different than XX and so unfortunately we may not be a good fit.”
The good thing about reviews is that they are not usually anonymous. Example if it is a Yelp or Facebook Page review, you will see who sent it. They may not use their own name. But you have the ability to send that account holder a response, public or private message. Even if you prefer to send them a private message, make sure you write a public comment first. This way others can see you responded. You can say something like “hey David, I got your review and would like to dialogue about your grievance. Love to send you a private message? I aim to please my customers”. Your viewers will see that comment. They’ll know you are going to take care of David, even if David’s complaint was not justified. Or you could say in the comment “David, stop in or give me a call so we can resolve the issue. Your complaint is important to me”.
The last thing to remember about responding to negative reviews: Don’t wait. Waiting is deadly. Don’t let 24 hours pass beyond a bad review. If not, consumers are already making judgements and it isn’t good.
Social Media has changed the entire playing field today. Everything that everyone writes good and bad is out there for the entire world to see. You can’t hide so turn it to your advantage. By the way, if you get an awesome review, go ahead and comment on those as well. Someone took the time to write to share their great experience. Let them know you appreciate it. People do check out reviews in helping them make decisions about who they want to do business with.
Use your reviews to improve your customer service and make a better product or service. Respond to your positive and negative reviews as fast as possible. It helps your customers know you, like you, and trust you and that is the name of the game.
Have some sweet lemonade.