When a company gets a bad review on Google or any other listing site, there is always a way to undo the damage.
Brand reputation is important and what the customer has to say about a company’s product or service directly affects the company. Negative reviews can feel like the ultimate revenge, punishing dissatisfactory experiences with public shaming, eroded local rankings, which can equal to revenue loss. Some business owners become so worried about negative reviews, they ask Google to remove their business listing altogether.
We don’t have to resort to deleting your company listing. Local business customers may be more forgiving than you think. In fact, your customers may think differently than you might think.
Consumer review stats
A company winds up with a bad review and that means they might suffer from a loss of a customer. The world of marketing wisdom says it is more costly to attract a new customer than to establish the one who had a negative outlook on your product or service. But it’s actually more far-reaching. Below is a list of stats of why you should try to get the unhappy customer to change their review.
- 57 percent of consumers will only use a business if it has four or more stars — (BrightLocal)
- One study showed that ~1.5-star rating increase improved conversions from 10.4 percent to 12.8 percent, representing about 13,000 more leads for the brand. — (Location3)
- 73.8 percent of customers are either likely or extremely likely to continue doing business with a brand that resolves their complaints. — (GatherUp)
- A typical business only hears from four percent of its dissatisfied customers, meaning that the negative reviews you rectify for outspoken people could solve problems for silent ones. — (Ruby Newell-Lerner)
- 89 percent of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews. — (BrightLocal)
The impact of ratings, reviews, and questions are so impactful that business owners need to resolve possible upcoming issues.
Online people are a lot more powerful than you think: One reason consumers love reviews
Nowadays people are more vocal about issues online. Customers will reach out to platforms like Yelp to just list a dissatisfied experience with the intention to get things resolved. While the truth may be stretched in negative reviews, customers will word anything on the internet to get what they want.
Fact #1: Many consumers think of their reviews as living documents
Sometimes customers who leave a review after having trouble making an appointment and then promising to update their content once they’d experienced actual service. Many people treat reviews as live objects, updating them over time to reflect evolving experiences.
Brands should see this as good news because it means an initial negative review doesn’t have to be set in stone.
Fact #2: Consumers can be incredibly forgiving
“What really defines you is how you handle the situation after you realize you made a mistake.”
The edited reviews are far from being the scary, irrational customers that business owners dread, it’s clear that many people have the basic understanding that mistakes can happen… and can be rectified. Some people even forgive auto dealerships for damaging their cars, once things had been made right.
Fact #3: Consumers can be self-correcting.
A customer is not always right. Sometimes customers will edit reviews after realizing they have been in the wrong.
“I didn’t realize they had an hourly option so my initial review was 3 stars. However, after the company letting me know they’d be happy to modify my charges since I overlooked the hourly option, it was only fair to edit my review. I thought that was really nice of them. 5 stars and will be using them again in the future.”
When a customer has initially misunderstood a policy or offering and the business in question takes the time to clarify things, fair-minded individuals can feel honor-bound to update their reviews. Many updated reviews contained phrases like “in good conscience” and “in all fairness.”
Customers are reasonable people, meaning that your brand has (surprising) significant power to work with dissatisfied customers to win back their respect and their business.
How negative reviews become positive: Identifying winning patterns
The dominant, overall pattern of negative reviews being transformed into positive ones consisted of these three Rs:
- Reach — the customer reaches out with their negative experience, often knowing that, in this day and age, powerful review platforms are a way to reach brands.
- Remedy — Some type of fix occurs, whether this results from intervention on the part of the brand, a second positive experience outweighing an initial negative one, or the consumer self-correcting their own misunderstanding.
- Restoration — The unhappy customer is restored to the business as a happy one, hopefully, ready to trust the brand for future transactions, and the reputation of the brand is restored by an edited review reflecting better satisfaction.
Key to review transformation:
- 70 percent mentioned poor service/rude service rectified by a second experience in which staff demonstrated caring.
- 64 percent mentioned the owner/manager/staff proactively, directly reached out to the customer with a remedy.
- 32 percent mentioned item replaced or job re-done for free.
- 20 percent mentioned customer decided to give a business a second chance on their own and was better-pleased by a second experience.
- 6 percent mentioned customer realized the fault for a misunderstanding was theirs.
Proactive outreach is your negative review repair kit
Outreach can happen in a variety of ways:
- The business may recognize who the customer is and have their name and number on file due to a contract.
- The business may not know who the customer is but can provide an owner response to the review that includes the company’s contact information and an earnest request to get in touch.
- The business can DM the customer if the negative review is on Yelp.
You’re being given a second chance if you get the customer’s ear a second time. It’s then up to your brand to do everything you can to change their opinion. Here’s one customer’s description of how far a local business was willing to go to get back into his good graces:
“X made every effort to make up for the failed programming and the lack of customer service the night before. My sales rep, his manager and even the finance rep reached out by phone, text and email. I was actually in meetings all morning, watching my phone buzz with what turned out to be their calls, as they attempted to find out what they could do to make amends. Mark came over on my lunch break, fixed/reprogrammed the remote and even comped me a free tank of gas for my next fill up. I appreciated his sincere apologies and wanted to update/revise my review as a token of my appreciation.”
What a great example of dedication to earning forgiveness!
Should you actively ask restored customers to edit their negative reviews?
Suffice it to say, never demand an edited review, and certainly don’t use one as blackmail!
It is alright to mention you’d appreciate an updated review. I’d be extremely choosy about how you word your request so as not to make the customer feel obligated in any way. And I’d only do so if the customer was truly, sincerely restored to a sense of trust and well-being by the brand.
So what are negative reviews, really?
In so many cases, negative reviews are neither punishment nor the end of the road.
They are, in fact, a form of customer outreach that’s often akin to a cry for help.
Someone trusted your business and was disappointed. Your brand needs to equip itself to ride to the rescue. Most reviewers just feel un-cared for.
Communicate with a rescue plan and your reputation can “sparkle like diamonds”, too.
Proper marketing can save your brand
Your brand is empowered to make the other half express forgiveness for mistakes and restoration of trust.
Instead of looking at your negative reviews as “bad reviews” think of it as a review in progress. There is always time for damage control.
To make sure your customers have a positive experience make sure to listen to them when they’re dissatisfied and hire a marketing agency to make sure that your message to your customers are well-taken care of. If your brand is important to you like we think it is, do what is right for the long haul.