97 percent of people read reviews for local business. (Source)
93 percent of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions. (Source)
57 percent for consumers will only use a business if it has four or more stars. (Source)
There are countless such statistics that underline why online reviews have become such an integral part of digital marketing strategies and why they are so important for local SEO.
Recommended Read: 3 Quick (And Less-Known) Tips to Rock Your Local SEO Strategy
To drive business growth and rank higher on SERP for relevant local search queries, you need more positive reviews.
But what if while you do get reviews, a large part of them are negative?
This can be quite a disaster for your returns when you realize 3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would engage with. (Source)
In fact, negative reviews have resulted in the gradual demise of so many businesses.
This makes knowing how to deal with them effectively essential.
If you’re a local business who gets negative reviews, here are five tips on how to handle them like a champion brand before they kill your business:
1.Offer good quality, valuable products
This is the cornerstone of winning positive reviews. (DUH!)
Don’t offer bad products and people won’t say bad things about them.
Remember, offering the best quality product is the best marketing strategy.
So, if you want good reviews, start by selling the right product that delivers high value for buyers’ money. This is the first and most important step in the whole process.
2.Understand that you don’t want all 5-star reviews
Now before you blindly chase the five stars, know that all five-star rating isn’t good.
There have been several studies that suggest consumers do not trust a business that only has full star rating and positive reviews. Most of them see that as fake or fraud.
In fact, the average star rating between 4.2 and 4.5 influence products purchase the most. Moreover, 82 percent of consumers actually seek out negative review. (Source)
So, don’t always aim for five stars. It’s okay if your rating is a bit low with a few negative reviews.
3.Is the negative review legitimate?
Not all who will leave negative online reviews are your customers. Not all of them will speak the truth.
The instances of fake review attacks from competitors are on the surge.
To stay on top of search and listing results, business owners are hiring people to leave negative reviews on their competitors’ page.
So, before you even invest your energy and resources in dealing with bad reviews, audit their legitimacy.
Are those reviews real? Are those really your customers? Are they speaking the truth?
If you know they are fake, and if they are large in number, very vitriolic, taking legal action might be the best option here.
If you need any assistance, take help from a good digital marketing company as to what you should now to recover.
4.Keep your ego aside when responding
Responding to negative reviews is very, very important.
Sadly, what many business owners do is simply avoid them, hoping they would get logged in the back of the line. Don’t be like them.
Go through each of the bad reviews and respond to them individually and with personalized message. And when doing that, keep your ego at bay.
If the complaint of the consumer is real and you have made some mistake, accept it, apologize and assure them.
Even if their bad review seems unjustified, respond politely. Don’t let your ego and cockiness come in the way as “humor”.
Remember, 89 percent of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews. (Source)
How you respond to the criticism can be a game-changer or deal-breaker for you. So, act thoughtfully.
5.Provide the best fix (even if it comes at a cost)
The cost of a negative review is high. It can influence tens, hundreds and even thousands of consumers against purchasing your product.
So, taking proper measures to avoid this is essential – even if it comes at a cost, believe top companies that offer digital marketing services in Kolkata, India.
To all the consumers whose complaints are genuine, offer them a concession.
Provide them an upgrade of their purchased product for free. Provide them goodies. Provide them free subscription or coupons for their next purchase.
(Whatever you’re offering, write that in your response to the review in question.)
The key here is to deliver them a good experience with personalized steps so that they go back to the negative review and edit it to something positive.
This whole trail of communication in reviews can win over the prospects rather easily.
These are five tips to help you effectively deal with negative online reviews like a champion brand.
Remember, a negative review, if not handled well, can hurt your local business exponentially, even staking its growth and existence.
So, if you’re getting negative reviews – anywhere, whether Google, Facebook or Yelp – get serious about it. Deal with them properly before they do the damage.