If you’re not making use of social networks to promote your business: you’re missing out. Over 50 percent of all consumers research the Internet before making online or offline purchases and consumer comments and reviews top their lists. Sites like Citysearch, Google Places and Yelp offer inexpensive yet impactful publicity for your business. But what do you do if you get a bad review?
Research has found that bad reviews can be goldmines. Thirty percent of consumers report that they suspect censorship or that good reviews are faked when they don’t see any negative posts. Sixty-eight percent of consumers trust reviews when they see both good and bad comments. And, consumers that search out bad reviews are 67 percent more likely to be converted to loyal customers than the average consumer.
Social commerce company Reevoo has found that consumers seeking out such reviews are already highly-engaged consumers. They view four times as many products at a site and spend much more time researching products.
Research by RightNow Technologies has found that you can utilize unhappy consumers. They found that 32 percent of US customers that had bad retail experiences and posted comments about them were ignored last year: 68 percent would have been shocked to get a response from the company. Sixty-one percent of consumers that had bad retail experiences were contacted after posting comments. After contact, 34 percent deleted their negative comment; 33 percent posted a positive comment; and 18 percent became loyal customers.
You can turn a bad experience into a great one with respect and responsiveness. Twenty-one percent of those that have great experiences with a company recommend the retailer to their friends. Eighty-five percent of consumers are willing to pay between five and 25 percent more than the standard price for a product or service for a great customer experience.
To make the most out of what people are saying about your company or product:
1) Take the time to monitor what’s being said about you online. You can hire a reputation monitoring service to search the web for any mention of your business so that you can respond.
2) Check out the tools available to you on such sites as DexKnows, Google Places and Yahoo!Local so that you know how to respond to customer reviews.
3) Respond rather than react. Don’t make a big case of a negative review: stay positive and solution-focused. Validate the person and the value of their opinion.
Remember that by owning a problem, you take control of how it pans out.
A bad review is like free market research. It gives you feedback that you can use to improve your product or service. Some sites give you the opportunity to respond to reviews either privately or publicly. If you note that a poster is of particular influence, offer a tangible recompense, a coupon or extra privately and explain publicly to all of your customers how you’re addressing or improving the problem. Transparency and validation are very important when responding to negative comments. If a consumer perceives your reply as dismissive or disingenuous, you’ll only make things worse for yourself.
If a review is blatantly wrong, you can reply with polite corrections that can be easily validated through links or you can flag them as “inappropriate” on Google Places. Google will remove content that is abusive, unlawful or plagiarized from other sites. They’ll remove reviews that are hearsay and reviews that are biased because of a conflict of interest. Just keep in mind that bad reviews are useful tools to increase your customer base and improve your reputation.