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Bad reviews happen: A strategy of when and how to respond

Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Bad Reviews Happen - how to respond

If you’re an online business, you need to create a rock solid strategy to handle reviews.

If you don’t have one, facing a barrage of customer feedback can be overwhelming.

It doesn’t need to be. We simply have one main tip: respond to your negative reviews. Respond now.

If you’d like to learn all the best practices, tips, and tricks for responding to bad reviews, watch our webinar recording below.

Bad reviews: how to handle them and why they're better than you think

So firstly, an introduction to Trustpilot. Trustpilot is a leading online reviews platform. It was launched in Denmark in 2007 and launched in the UK and the US in 2013. In that time we've become the top 1% of most visited websites globally. We get over 4 billion brand impressions every month, and we currently sit in on 100 million customer reviews!

We aim to be a universal symbol of trust and for a trust symbol to be trusted, you should work for both companies and consumers and be independent of both. That's really important because our vision has always been to help companies and consumers, not one or the other. And that's what separates us from other review sites. They are about reviews as an e-commerce tool, we're about that too, but it's about trust and open collaboration that creates trust.

The three pillars of the business through our powerful customer feedback software are get seen, get better and get sold. That's our value proposition, and it's pretty simple.

Negative reviews happen

I think the first thing to say is essentially, I'm sure we all know this as either just being a consumer or working for different businesses that no business is perfect.

So naturally, by inviting people to leave feedback, you are going to get a few negative reviews in there, just by the very nature of being in business. But actually what you can see on here from these stats from the different research and studies that we've done, is that's not actually a bad thing. What consumers want in the UK in particular is they're looking for a real, authentic, good company that cares about their customers.

Most consumers now understand that it'll almost impossible for brands to have only five-star reviews. Being a real, authentic company, and just accepting that you are going to get few bad reviews in there, is the first step to success.

How to handle negative feedback

Over a third of consumers expect a response to their bad reviews. If you think about it, you've asked them to leave a review, they've taken the time to do that. So the least you can do is respond to it.

When people leave feedback, they're not just having a rant online about their bad experience. They're leaving that door open, and want you to respond, engage, and start a dialogue with them. They're hoping you'll listen, help, and learn from it.

What kind of response do people expect?

64% of consumers would actually prefer to buy from a business that's responsive over one that just potentially seems superficially perfect. People want real responses. Everyone's human. They just want a real human on the other end of that business, responding to them and they just want you to be understanding, and helping. Consumers are actually three times more likely to buy from a company that has made a mistake if they responded to their review quickly, and tried to rectify their mistake.

So, if you think about your own business, what effect that could have on your bottom line? If more consumers are three times more likely to buy from you just because you're showing how much you care about their experiences by responding to all of their reviews, good or bad, you'll likely convert more, and get more repeat, loyal customers.

You've got a few bad reviews, you've responded to them, in a real, honest, genuine way. That means 55% of people would actually shop with you again.

And that's not it. One in four people would actually go out of their way and recommend the company if they took the time to fix the problem. So, even if the overall experience may not have been fantastic or seamless, just from being a real, genuine company that obviously cares about their customers, well, one in four would actually recommend the company. Isn't that fantastic?!

Tips and tricks to respond to bad reviews

So, this just hits on more about the relationships with basically their consumers and companies or brands have now. And I think more and more, especially with obviously the rise of social media,

  • Consumers want the brand to be as human as possible. It's important that you're not just responding like it's an automated message, but taking the time to understand their issue and to them.
  • Using their name and signing with yours is important too.
  • If you can personalize the message further, that's great.

Oasis Fashion is a great example of a brand which responds to every reviews. They just send their customers a very quick, very simple response, just thanking them for their great feedback, which is always great for the consumer to have. If they are to receive a negative review and they frame it up in a very professional, very swift, very effective manner. They do not engage in an argument with the consumer because from a new consumer's perspective, looking in, that's only going to come across as negative.

So, they front it up, they apologize and they offer to speak to the reviewer privately. And that's really important. And it's a really, really good example of how you can turn a negative into a positive and how you can learn from it from a business. And you can keep that customer.

To sum up...

Just going to run through in summary now why it's important to keep your current customers happy for the lifetime value of these customers. So the four top tips, first things first, yes, you should respond to reviews. There's nothing worse than burying your head in the sand and expecting them to go away. It's crucial you respond to your reviews.

Your Trustpilot profile page is a valuable marketing asset for your brand. By responding to your reviews you can showcase excellent customer service, reward your customers for leaving back and encourage future interactions with your client base. So, positive, personal interactions with customers increase brand loyalty.

Secondly, online versus offline. So we recommend that you leave one response to every review, don't turn it into a chat thread. If you want to continue the conversation with the consumer, let them know you'll get in touch with them privately, or provide them with an email address or phone number to contact you.

Thirdly remain professional, keep it professional. I know it's really difficult if you've got a review that's completely bonkers, but if you lower yourself to using rude, hurt or offensive language, it's going to reflect really poorly on your brand. You should also avoid sharing too much personal information. Save that for the private correspondence.

Finally retain the relationship. So you view your response as an opportunity to acknowledge the reviewer and to save them as a customer. According to LinkedIn, it costs between four and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. So, strategically and financially it's best for your company to actively work on the upkeep of your existing customer relationships.

And by responding to reviews, warmly, and professionally, you could improve the buying experience. You can reaffirm your relationship with your customers and you can show the transparency of your brand. And that builds trust the Trustpilot way.

If you'd like to learn more about Trustpilot reviews and how they can help you build trust with new customers, check out our newest guide below!

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