By Kristina Martinez | Solution21 | Project Coordinator

Should a Business Respond to Negative Reviews

One bad review can lead to untold damage. Smart business owners are engaged in actively monitoring and responding to negative reviews and complaints. In the current high-speed culture, a response must occur within 24 hours. Consumers are wielding power, and social media is an effective weapon. Unhappy customers feel justified in posting a scathing review after a bad experience — even the most minor.

Online word-of-mouth about the quality of services and products is a serious business; positive reviews drive sales, and negative reviews tend to disrupt an operation, directly impacting the bottom line. Your online reputation is not a minor issue. The correct management of negative reviews (whether the review is wrong or right) is a crucial factor in a comprehensive, interactive, online marketing strategy.

Engagement and Trust

Consumers are obsessed with reading the experiences of other buyers and customers; online reviews guide decisions about where to buy. A staggering 40 percent of shoppers will only visit a business with a four-star rating or higher. Managing ratings and reviews is more important than many business owners realize. Left to simmer online, read and re-read by thousands of individuals, a nasty review drives off prospective customers. The rule of the day is: RESPOND. An active response to a problem shows that your business listens – and cares – and provides you with an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.

Responding to Online Reviews: A Living, Breathing Marketing Strategy

Customers who have posted negative feedback who then receive an immediate response are far more likely to remove the complaint or to post a positive review about what occurred. Statistics issued by the The Retail Consumer Report reveal that 34% of consumers who were contacted after posting a bad review then deleted it, with 33% then posting a positive review and 18% subsequently becoming loyal customers. The facts show that a well-crafted response to a negative review can boost your bottom line.

Interestingly, consumers do not expect a response and are surprised when a business takes the time and energy to correct a perceived wrong. They respond very favorably and frequently share the experience, building a higher level of trust and acting as brand advocates.

Positive and Negative: Which Reviews Matter Most?

All customer reviews matter. Don’t ignore your happy customers and focus response efforts only upon those who post a complaint or bad review. A simple “Thank you! We are so happy that you enjoyed [product/service]!” as a response to a positive review has the benefit of showing that you are listening, further building trust. While a generic, automated response is marginally better than no response, crafting a personal response is far more effective.

Monitoring the multitude of consumer review sites is an impossible task for a human being. Automated review monitoring programs sift the data and provide daily alerts regarding reviews and reputation so critical issues can be addressed before they explode into something worse. Any delay in responding to serious complaints about customer service or product quality makes your business fair game for unhappy customers, malcontents, and internet trolls.

At Solution21, we help our clients keep their bases covered. Our Social Media Management services are strategically planned, comprehensive, and include addressing the critical issues associated with negative reviews and ratings.