Online reviews are like fire.
The positive ones light up the path for others, while the negative ones can destroy the whole forest.
According to a study, nearly 95% of shoppers consult customer reviews before making a purchase. So, if they find too many negative reviews, they might look for alternatives.
Besides that, online reviews are a type of user-generated content, and Google holds them in high regard for local rankings.
Most businesses collect Google Reviews for this reason.
But, more than anything else, online reviews impact your reputation, sales, and business, both online and offline.
They influence the buying decisions of customers and will continue to do so.
Therefore, you must always keep an eye on them - both good and bad. It will help you build and maintain your brand’s positive reputation.
In this article, you will learn about finding negative online reviews and handling them.
Let’s get started.
How To Find Negative Reviews
Customers can leave negative reviews not only on Google, Facebook, or Twitter but ANYWHERE on the internet.
You have to hunt for them (and fast), which is not easy. Because it only takes moments for negative reviews to spread like wildfire.
Here’s an easy and quick way to find negative reviews: WebSignals.
Let me show you how to use it with the example of GoRizen. (You can try it for your brand.)
Create a project, add gorizen.com as the primary keyword, and click on Save.
The tool will find all mentions of these keywords. Next, apply the Sentiment filter and select Negative.
Now, you will get a list of all negative reviews of gorizen.com.
Pro Tip: 💡
The tool offers boolean operators to add secondary keywords. You can add variations of your brand name using it. For gorizen.com, the variations are: go rizen, gorisen, and go risen.
How To Handle Negative Online Reviews
Now that you know how to find negative reviews, here are some tips to help you deal with them:
1. Take The Conversation Offline
When it comes to negative reviews, they can sometimes lead to arguments or a breach of privacy.
They can damage a brand’s online reputation and so, it is better to handle them offline.
In the initial stage, you should respond to them publicly. But, further conversation and reconciliation should be private.
The right approach is to acknowledge the concern and provide an email or contact number for them to reach out.
Alternatively, you can choose to contact them yourself. In this case, you must ask for a suitable time to reach out.
When you get in touch with them either way, you can resolve the issue swiftly and smoothly.
2. Find Out The Root Cause
Whenever you receive negative reviews, ask yourself what made the customer unhappy? Why did they get upset?
What is the pain point of the customer? Is it a common problem? If yes, what is causing this problem?
Try to find out the reason behind each negative review you get. It will enable you to provide a better solution to your customer.
It will not only help you resolve the issue but also improve your business.
Customers will help you find faults, which you never knew existed. You can fine-tune them to take your business to the next level.
Sometimes, they will tell you the missing features in your product or service. You can add them in the next update and gain a competitive advantage.
3. Respond Quickly But Thoughtfully
When customers have bad experiences, they want the brand to know about them. So they post about it online.
And after doing so, 53% of them expect a response within a week. So, you need to cheer up those upset customers as quickly as you can.
But, don't rush. Instead, be thoughtful and careful while responding. Keep it simple, short, and sweet - to the point.
Limit your response to three sentences. Be considerate, offer appropriate solutions, and express your gratitude.
Remember, it should be quick but not foolish.
4. Be Kind and Appreciative
Some reviews can be extremely nasty but you must respond calmly.
Businesses should be prepared for such situations. They should know how to handle it professionally.
There is no need to stoop down to the level of the reviewer while answering them. Instead, you should be kind and polite.
Start your response with a gentle thank you. Empathize with the customer to gain their trust and then resolve their issue.
5. Write Custom Responses
Customers are hungry for your attention. When they are displeased or angry with you, they want it even more.
But, automated or template responses are the worst way to handle negative reviews. If you use them, you might land into additional trouble.
They will miss contextual indications most of the time. Occasionally, they will miss adding personalization or brand keywords.
That means wrong templates will be used for the responses, making the customer furious.
Thus, writing custom responses for negative reviews is the best practice. It will let your customers know that you care about their concerns.
A custom response will address the problem and solution with empathy and optimism. It can be time-consuming, but it is worth all the effort.
6. Follow-up With Your Unhappy Customers
There are bad experiences, and they can drive your customers away. And ultimately, it might get risky for you.
It is necessary to follow up with your unhappy customers. Don't leave them alone when they are dissatisfied with you.
Make sure that their problem is resolved and they are happy with the solution. Request your (now) happy customers to reply to the review thread about their redressal experience.
In case they are not happy yet, know the issues they are facing. Work on it and make sure they don't have a bad experience again.
Pursuing your unhappy customers will help you build relationships with them. You can win their loyalty and retain them for a long time.
7. Get Rid of Fake Reviews
A study by BrightLocal revealed that in 2018 58% of businesses received negative or positive fake reviews, with a further 21% saying they were uncertain.
In fact, businesses are more likely to receive fake negative reviews than fake positive ones.
So, not all negative reviews will be genuine. Some of them will be completely baseless and wicked.
It's maybe the work of your competitors or displeased employees who want to harm your brand’s reputation. Or, it's simply a troll.
So, it is important to get such fake or misleading reviews removed. Most platforms give you an option to report such unethical reviews.
If you don’t have that option, you can respond to such reviews stating that you have no records of the customer purchasing from you.
Nobody likes negative reviews. But, you will have to face them in the digital world. That too, without being stressed.
Often, you wouldn't know who left them or where they are. So, it is best to use a brand monitoring tool that makes finding negative reviews easy.
Once you find them, you must handle them efficiently using the tips shared in this article.
How do you deal with negative reviews? Did any of the tips we mentioned help you? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.