Linda Buquet

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Don Campbell just penned a great piece on how to turn around negative reviews to your benefit.

Can negative reviews help your business?

Negative online reviews can be a scary thing for small business owners. People can leave you reviews all over the web, and there isn’t anything you can do about it.

But negative reviews are not always as bad as they seem. In fact, there are many cases where you can turn a negative review into something that helps you get more customers.

Negative reviews can actually help you in four important ways:

Read on... for the rest.

What do you think? Anything to add?
 
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He makes a great point, that NOT having ALL 5 star reviews can actually be more believable.

I was just discussing this with a client today. They really want to get a particular review removed. It's from a real customer so 1, they probably can't get it removed and 2, I pointed out that the best way to deal with it is to just get more positive reviews.
 

valesence

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I agree completely that negative can be a positive. This gives you an opportunity to talk about your service or product in a postive light. Take this two examples for instance.

Review: xyz plumbing did a great job of fixing our problems quickly and for a great price, john was professional and respectful of our home.

owner response: thank you for the kind words, we do love john, he is a great plumber and we appreciate that you took the time to mention him.


Bad review: I called xyz plumbing with an emergency and they were late and I think the cost of service was much more expensive than I thought it should be.

Owner Response: I am sorry that you had a bad experience with our company. I took the time to look up your account and talk to the tech that we sent to your project. We were in fact later than we anticipated to your home and we realize that an emergency in your home can be stressful. What is difficult for us sometimes is estimating the amount of time current problems will take, we have a policy to never hurry through and issue and get the job done right, this does push our schedule back sometimes and that was the issue in your case. Again I apologize for that and maybe we should of communicated with you better when we were running late and plan to do a better job of that in the future.

As far as pricing goes, again I am sorry you felt we overcharged you. I looked at the service invoice and it was an emergency plumbing problem that we serviced after 7pm in the evening. We realize that emergencies happen but for us to service customers in the evening we have to pay overtime to our plumbers and it is typical to cost more for emergency service in the evening for any company. Most our customers understand this and are just happy to get their plumbing working.

Again I apologize that we weren't able to show up exactly on time and that your experience with us wasn't as positive as you hoped. I had the office manager put a 30 dollar credit on your account for the next time you use us and hope your experience is much better next time.


Do you see the positive spin this gives your company? It shows you care about your customers. You say you never hurry through work and get the job done right, It explains the extra costs of emergency service that someone reading it would understand.

You can't give a response like this to a positive review, negatives give you a forum to turn the negative into a positive.
 

chadkimball

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Owner Response: I am sorry that you had a bad experience with our company. I took the time to look up your account and talk to the tech that we sent to your project. We were in fact later than we anticipated to your home and we realize that an emergency in your home can be stressful.

this is such an awesome example of how an admission of guilt can actually make you much more trustworthy, turning the negative review into a customer generation tool. People generally respond saying "man, xyz plumbing sound like really great guys, I mean, everyone is late sometimes, and at least they had the guts to admit it!"

In my sales messages I always talk about my refund policy and include an ACTUAL screenshot of someone who requested a refund (because everyone knows refund requests happen right? Not going to be able to hide that fact anyway).
 

doncampbell

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This is such a great example of how a business owner should handle both positive and negative reviews. Very classy, and shows his focus is on his customer. Thanks for sharing it.
 
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Do you see the positive spin this gives your company? It shows you care about your customers. You say you never hurry through work and get the job done right, It explains the extra costs of emergency service that someone reading it would understand.

You can't give a response like this to a positive review, negatives give you a forum to turn the negative into a positive.

So, there are two sides to every coin and although I believe you must respond to a consumer online I also know that it is advisable to use caution on how you do it.

My personal recommendation is to take if offline by reaching out publicly and then working to resolve it privately. Explaining can work but it can also bite businesses in the rear as well.

Also, there have been a lot of false reviews posted by those who never have used a product or service, and some reviewers who have tried to leverage some sort of deal from the business, and the worst we have found are the competition that have posted fake reviews.

Also, on the article posted by Solas, I want to mention that the Yelp reviewer can go back and edit their review at any time. So although they cannot be removed by the business owner's request (unless they violate the guidelines and the support at Yelp take the time to verify--which they usually don't), the reviewer can often edit and change the stars if resolution is made.

Of course there is never a blanket answer to reviews but moving forward in today's market I believe the important steps are:

  • train staff to understand the importance of the customer experience and work to create a solid customer service model,
  • create clear customer expectations (which was referenced as communication),
  • ask for customer feedback after service or sales when the consumer is still onsite and follow up if he/she is not,
  • establish a funnel to direct feedback to the business owner for resolution when it is bad and into a review platform when good,
  • and always make sure to respond to both good and bad feedback in a manner that is professional and responsive. This shows that the business is responsive to all their valued customers--whether things go awry or not, and often can leverage fan response to the rare negative review if and when it happens.

Anything else you would add to the list?
 
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