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When buying a new product or availing of a service from an unfamiliar provider, a common practice for most consumers nowadays is to look up honest reviews online. They’ll dig up reviews on Google or search for comments on social media.
It totally makes sense. People want to make sure that they will be getting their hard-earned money’s worth. So they’re curious about reading what other buyers have to say before spending anything. Besides, “individuals’ behavior is shaped by what people around them consider appropriate, correct or desirable,” according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Customer reviews definitely play a big role in achieving business success these days. Whether you are a startup owner or the CEO of a huge company, it may surprise you to learn that your brand can benefit from negative customer reviews.
As Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates once pointed out:
"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest sources of learning.”
Allow us to share with you how negative customer reviews can actually help you take your brand to the next level.
Satisfied customers tend to rave about brands they love. It’s always amazing to see glowing reviews because they highlight your brand’s strengths for everyone to see. They’re essentially free advertisements from real people!
In the same way, some who have had unpleasant experiences with your product or service will not think twice about spreading the word to others. Potential customers can likewise read these negative reviews – including how you handle them.
While it may always be easier to simply ignore criticism, doing so could end up becoming very damaging for your brand. Potential new customers will (justifiably!) take this as an indication that you have poor customer service.
As such, publicly addressing bad reviews shows that you care for your customers, even if they have unenthusiastic opinions about your business. Apologize sincerely if your company has been at fault. Explain your side politely. Assure them that you will do better next time. Encourage them to get in touch with you via private message so you can further discuss how you can help them with their concerns.
Doing this could help dispel any hesitation potential customers may have when considering making a first-time purchase. They’ll see that you are prepared to take full responsibility if anything ever goes wrong, and that you will promptly take steps to rectify any issues.
Do you know why you should never delete any negative reviews you get? Well, believe it or not, customers get skeptical when they don’t see anything bad about your brand. And some actually seek out negative reviews as well as positive ones when researching products or services.
No business is perfect, plus it’s impossible to please everyone all of the time. So when all you have is positive feedback, some will feel suspicious and think you’re just too good to be true.
Again, what’s most important is that you can demonstrate how you handle bad feedback because "courteous treatment,” said James Cash Penney of J.C. Penney Stores, “will make a customer a walking advertisement."
Bad reviews help you see the imperfections and flaws of what you’re offering. So instead of being defensive or annoyed when you get less-than-stellar feedback, take it as a learning moment – a jumping-off point for you to improve further.
It would actually be a good idea to sit down with your team and discuss the valid points mentioned by unhappy clients from their own points of view. If needed, you can then make plans to tweak key elements of your product or service so you can come out of the whole experience better and stronger.
Customer feedback functions as a gauge to help you determine how satisfied your customers are with what you’re selling. So when you get bad reviews, ask the person for more details and then be ready to do something about the problem.
Qualtrics XM Institute head Bruce Temkin effectively summed it up in a single tweet:
“Don't waste customers' time asking them questions unless you are prepared to act on what they say.”
So the next time you get negative customer reviews online, do not worry. You don’t have to panic and feel bad about it.
As you come to understand that customer service isn’t merely a department but an attitude, you will be able to take care of your customers better and grow your business at the same time. You will attract more people to your brand and, ultimately, increase your sales.
Best of luck to your business and may you learn to master the art of handling negative feedback with grace!
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