When it comes to local marketing, there are few things more frustrating than a one-star review. But if you run a local business in the internet age, you’ll need to respond to negative reviews at one point or another.
Handling negative reviews is part art, part science, and a skill that every business owner should master. To guide you through your response to a bad online review, we have outlined five key guidelines that you should keep in mind:
Claim Your Online Local Listings
This should be a no-brainer in 2017, but it’s a step that many business owners still fail to take. Claiming local listings offers countless local marketing benefits. Responding to negative reviews properly is one of them. By claiming your local listings on major review platforms, you’ll be able to respond as the listing’s owner, instead of what seems like a random account. More importantly, if you suspect a bad review is faked, fraudulent, or misleading, you’ll be able to report it and possibly have it removed.
Avoid an Emotional Response
Unless ice runs through your veins, a one-star review will probably leave you with elevated blood pressure. If that happens, give yourself a moment (or several) to collect your thoughts and calm down before responding. Responding to a negative review with anger will only add gas to the fire. Instead, collect your thoughts, respond politely, and carefully re-read your response before posting.
Address Concerns & Avoid Blame
A common mistake local marketers make when responding to a one-star or a two-star review is to treat the customer’s bad experience as if it’s the customer’s fault. Regardless of whether or not this is true, blaming the customer is not constructive and usually paints the business owner in a bad light. Instead, acknowledge the customer’s legitimate concerns and be polite — and sparing — when correcting their criticisms.
Offer a Public and Private Response
Because bad reviews are posted out in the open, many business owners only respond to them in public. But many customers who leave bad reviews don’t want to continue the conversation in view of other people. To increase your chances of resolving the issue positively, reach out with a separate private message addressing their concerns and asking what you can do to resolve their poor experience.
Respond to Bad Reviews Promptly
In the same way that most crimes go unsolved after 48 hours, you will lose your chance to fix a bad review if you wait too long to respond. Do your best to respond promptly when you see a bad or so-so review, ideally within one or two business days. A prompt response will dramatically increase your odds of a positive outcome, and could lead to the review being taken down or upgraded.
And if you’re wondering whether responding to a negative review is even worth it, consider this: on some review sites, businesses that respond to negative reviews have ratings as much as 86% higher than the competition!
Master local marketing with help from the gurus at Qiigo. Call (888) 673-1212 to find out how our local marketing game plan can deliver results for your business online.