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Growing a Business

How to Respond to Negative Customer Reviews

how to respond to negative reviews

Starting a business means putting yourself out there. Whether you’re sharing a product or service — to run a business is to share a passion or speciality with the world. With that comes exposure to feedback, both good and bad.

In today's digital age, online reviews have become a vital component of small business growth and reputation. Positive reviews can be a powerful marketing tool, while negative reviews can damage your brand and deter potential customers. As a small business owner, it's essential to understand how to handle both positive and negative customer reviews to build a strong online presence and attract more customers.

In this guide, we’ll run you through a few tips for managing customer feedback to help support and enhance your customers’ experience, as well as exceed client expectations.

Why are customer reviews important?

Before delving into how to manage customer reviews, it's crucial to understand why they're so important. According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, 98% of consumers read online reviews, and 88% of consumers are likely to use a business if they can see the business owner responds to all reviews, whether positive or negative. Positive reviews can significantly impact a business's reputation, increase its visibility, and ultimately drive more sales.

Negative reviews, on the other hand, can hurt your business's reputation and deter potential customers. However, negative reviews can also present an opportunity for small businesses to learn from their mistakes and improve their products or services.

How to Handle Positive Customer Reviews

When you receive a positive review, it's essential to show your appreciation to the customer. Since negative emotions and memories are typically processed more thoroughly than positive ones, it's important to acknowledge that for a customer to have gone out of their way to share their experience with others enough to want to recommend your product or services, is high praise indeed.

Responding to positive reviews shows that you value your customers and are committed to providing excellent customer service, and value their positive experience as much as they do. Here are some tips on how to handle positive reviews:

Respond promptly: Respond to positive reviews as quickly as possible to show your appreciation.

Show your gratitude: Thank the customer for taking the time to leave a review and for choosing your business.

Personalise your response: Customise your response to the customer's review, and mention specific details to show that you've read and appreciated their feedback.

Use the review for marketing: Use the positive review as a marketing tool by sharing it on social media, paid ads, or on your website as a testimonial

How to Handle Negative Reviews

Negative reviews can be super frustrating and disheartening for small business owners, particularly since it's easy to feel stretched across multiple areas with not enough resources while you grow. However, negative feedback is also an opportunity to learn and improve. Here are some tips on how to handle negative reviews:

Respond promptly: Respond to negative reviews promptly and professionally. Acknowledge the customer's concerns and apologise for any issues they may have experienced.

Take the conversation offline: If possible, take the conversation offline or out of the public space to resolve the issue privately. Provide the customer with a phone number or email address to contact you directly.

Address the issue: Address the specific issue mentioned in the review and get to the heart of the problem. Explain how you're going to resolve it and do so to the best of your ability.

Use the review for improvement: Use negative reviews as an opportunity to learn and improve your products or services. How can you avoid this happening again? What processes need reviewing or changing, and where could you better be investing your time?

Follow up: Follow up with the customer after the issue has been resolved to ensure their satisfaction.

Make the Right Impression

Online reviews are an essential component of small business growth and reputation. Positive reviews can attract new customers and increase sales, while negative reviews can damage your brand. As a small business owner, it's crucial to respond promptly and professionally to both positive and negative reviews.

Use positive reviews as a marketing tool and negative reviews as an opportunity to learn and improve your products or services. With the right approach, customer reviews can be a valuable asset to help grow your business, and succeed in today's competitive digital marketplace.

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