Sometimes, it’s tempting to respond to bad or unfair reviews with a snarky comment or a “haters gonna hate” kind of attitude. But negative reviews hold a lot of weight in ranking algorithms these days, so it’s important that you understand how they can impact your business—and why they must be addressed, as painful as it might be.
People don’t trust businesses with no reviews—and they avoid businesses with only negative reviews like the plague.
Of course, we all have to start from scratch. But this is precisely why it’s so important for you to be on the ball when it comes to getting your customers to leave reviews. And, if you have only one or two reviews, and they’re both negative, you’re in an even worse position. Need some proof? According to this study, 92% of users will use a business if it has a 4-star rating or higher. It isn’t rocket science—you probably wouldn’t want to try a restaurant with no rating, or choose a contractor with two one-star reviews. And if you’re hoping to skirt this, thinking your negative reviews might get buried under positive ones, you’re probably wrong: Google tends to show the top three most interacted with reviews in the search results.
So what can you do? Respond to the negative review in a kind and patient way. Offer to right the wrongs. Tell your customers you’re listening. When others see that you care and are making an effort to be professional with your displeased clients, it looks a lot better in their eyes.
Depending on who leaves the review, it can make your company look bad in more than one way.
A customer complaining about a bad experience is one thing—and honestly, it’s to be expected. Not everyone is going to have a 100% positive rating, because that’s impossible. So, one or two negative reviews, as long as they are handled professionally and are offset by more positive reviews, aren’t going to do a lot of damage in the long run.
But reviews from ex-employees can cause a different kind of drama. Whether the ex-employee is disgruntled and saying things out of anger, or they genuinely have a harsh complaint about your company, you need to respond to their words too. Outright falsehoods can usually be disputed with Google, especially if profanity is used. But a negative review can’t be removed just for being bad. So, respond to the ex-employee by asking them to message you privately. You can work something out there rather than hash it out in the public eye.
Negative reviews will affect your bottom line.
People often look for negative reviews before choosing to do business with someone. It sounds a bit unfair, but it’s true. Most people look for 4-6 reviews before moving forward. And, 86% of people will hesitate to do business with someone who has negative reviews. This all affects your bottom line, as it is scaring away people who may otherwise be willing to give an unknown business a shot! So, this is just another reason to respond to negative reviews and make sure you have the discussion under control.
Now that you know these three reasons to address negative customer reviews, make sure you follow best practices—and you will get the best results!