Negative reviews: When life gives your business lemons, how do you respond?

negative reviews

There’s nothing I love more than a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. The recipe for lemonade is simple enough – lemons, water, and sugar. Yet, the process of extracting enough juice from the lemons is just difficult enough that I don’t enjoy lemonade as often as I’d like. You might be thinking to yourself, why am I talking about lemonade in this blog post that’s supposed to be negative reviews?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the lemons in this scenario are negative reviews. By themselves, lemons are sour and bitter and not very desirable. But with a little work and a little love (and a lot of sugar), you can turn that lemon into something delicious.

The same can be said of negative reviews. On their face, they are something that a business wouldn’t want  – some might say they leave a bad taste in your mouth – but they can be an important ingredient in improving your day-to-day business operations.

A negative review can shed some light on a problem employee or a process that isn’t working as well as you had hoped, giving you the insights you need to correct that problem and improve your business. It’s important that you not only respond to negative reviews but also use them to effect positive change in your business. And just like with the lemonade, if you put in a little work and show the customer a little love, you can turn a negative experience into a positive one.

How to respond to online reviews

To help you respond to negative reviews – or positive reviews for that matter – we recommend you implement the Customer Experience Feedback Loop. It’s a simple three-step process:

  1. A transaction takes place and an online review is posted.
  2. You take note of the review and respond if necessary.
  3. If the review is positive, it reinforces the process is working. If the review is negative, you alter existing processes to improve customer experience.

The benefit of using online reviews to gather feedback is it allows you to respond to problems that may arise in real time rather than waiting to get feedback through an annual or semi-annual net promoter survey.

Why you should respond to negative reviews

Consumers today are conducting a vast majority of their pre-purchase research online, with much of that time spent reading reviews. In the past, consumers had to rely on friends, family, or co-workers when looking for recommendations on where to buy a car, which doctor or dentist to choose, or what the best seafood restaurant in the city is. But now with review sites like Google and Yelp, that network for recommendations expands significantly.

If think that online reviews wouldn’t carry as much weight as a personal recommendation, you would be wrong. Eighty percent of consumers will trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from someone they know. That means if you get a negative review, it could cause someone to have second thoughts about frequenting your business.

But if you have taken the time to thoughtfully respond to the review, you could turn that negative experience into a positive one – or to bring this full circle, you could turn lemons into lemonade. Doing so shows that you take all feedback from your customers seriously and are willing to do what it takes to provide the best possible experience for your customers.

Learn more

Request a demo to see how Podium’s cloud-based platform can help your business respond to negative reviews. Podium’s efficient, mobile process can help your business collect 15x the reviews that traditional platforms produce, which in turn will improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenues.

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