It’s a given that most online shoppers read online reviews about a store or product before making a purchase. It is therefore very critical for a brand to maintain a positive online image. While brands do all they can to fully satisfy a customer it is not possible even for the best of brands to avoid negative online reviews, complaints or negative feedback from online shoppers. What is important is how you deal with negative reviews. The way you manage these reviews says a lot about your service levels and can make or break the confidence levels of new customers that are evaluating the possibility of shopping on your website.
1. Acknowledge the problem
It’s natural to start defending your service and trying to change the negative perception created by the review. However, the right thing to do is to stay calm and evaluate the feedback in the review. Rather than reply in haste with incomplete information, take time to discuss the review with your support team and understand if the complaint is genuine. Collect the facts and data and then draft a suitable response to the review. If the compliant is genuine, offer a solution either in the form of an apology or rectify the problem by replacing the product or a refund depending on the nature of your business. Your response to negative reviews will be observed by other potential shoppers, a proactive response and willingness to solve the problem will go a long way in maintaining a positive brand image online.
2. Validate the review
It is possible that a negative review is the handiwork of a competitor or someone who is just trolling. Do not let competitors use these reviews to defame your brand or shopping website. Take every possible measure to remove abusive reviews that appear to be fabricated or fake. Most online review aggregators do provide an option to flag a review for being misleading or fabricated. Contact the operators of the review website and raise a complaint about the review and provide necessary information for the site operator to remove the review.
3. Accept constructive criticism
A genuine negative review may offer an opportunity to fix something that can help you improve your overall service levels. Use the opportunity to understand what the reviewer has stated in his/her review and consider addressing the issue. By taking a constructive approach to the problem and admitting the problem, your brand will certainly earn a lot more respect from your shoppers.
4. Do not ignore or bribe
Both, ignoring the review or offering a bribe to the reviewer to take back the negative comments can often have a negative impact on your brand. Do not appear defensive or threaten the reviewer legally unless it’s absolutely called for (incase of defamatory or fabricated reviews) as it can lead to other shoppers having a negative feeling about your brand. The best approach is to acknowledge and attempt to fix the problem.
5. Respond personally to negative reviews
Offer a personal response to genuine negative reviews, it will help the reviewer gain your trust and be willing to shop again on your website. Admit the mistake if any and offer a reasonable solution that will be acceptable and fair to both you and the user. If you have reached out to the customer directly make sure you also respond to the review online so other users know that necessary action was taken to resolve the problem.
Majority of online shoppers these days compare prices and or read online reviews before making a purchase online. A negative review can be concerning especially for small and medium sized online retailers that are looking to grow their brand. However, a negative review also presents opportunities to engage with your customer and allows them to express their feelings about the shopping experience on your website. Take note of their concerns and use a constructive approach to fix the problem. In the long terms these negative reviews can actually help you improve your service and brand image.