Online user reviews play a critical role in image building as well as the marketing of a product or service. A positive review is a free advertisement. It not only assures a potential client but also gives the supplier or service provider a dose of vigour and encouragement.
On the contrary, negative user reviews or bad comments serve to dent these factors to some extent. As an online business grows, the number of its content, as well as dissatisfied customers, also progresses. This is critical for ecommerce and online stores in Trinidad and Tobago as we are just trying to build consumer confidence in purchasing online.
Feedback from both these groups of customers must be handled sensibly and discreetly to benefit the business and at the same time, bring a maximum number of unhappy customers to the satisfied customer bracket. With a phenomenal increase in online shopping trends all over the world, online user reviews become more and more significant for business growth. Google, by far, has emerged as the largest platform, used by the consumers to search for objective reviews against the product or service of their interest.
Today, almost ninety per cent of consumers go through the existing reviews on Google before their final selection. Unfortunately, their decisions are influenced more by the negative comments. Businesses that delete or show selective reviews are thus viewed negatively by Google users.
This article lists and elaborates eight rules or tips to effectively respond and benefit from negative user comments without deleting them.
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Reply Promptly – Do not pend
An organization’s response time amply reflects its business practices and level of professionalism. May it be its response to a business query or a bad review/comment. A prompt reply creates a positive impact, even on an otherwise displeased customer.
Oberlo data quantifies that within seven days a response is expected by more than fifty percent of dissatisfied clients. A delayed response, however, is better than not responding at all because no response disappoints more than sixty per cent of the already discontented client. This is especially true for ecommerce.
It is highly advisable that before furnishing a reply, take a quick stock of your internal inefficiencies, resulting in customer dissatisfaction. If more time is required for this, an interim, courteous reply be forwarded to appease the customer.
Give it a personal touch
The element of a personal touch and concern can work wonders with even the most irate customer. Take the negative comment positively. What if the customer is justified? This means that a thorough investigation of the problem might reveal genuine incompetence that should be addressed to improve the system.
This exercise would also help in the framing of an objective and convincing reply, based on facts. If the problem is at your end, do not hesitate to admit and apologize. This would be a good start. Show genuine concerns for the inconvenience caused to the customer and try to propose a solution.
If the customer can see the reflection of your effort, concern and admission in your reply, consider him/her to be on your side, now onwards. There might be cases where the customer has been too irrational or has even distorted the facts, but a cool-minded, professional and courteous approach is always the right card to play.
Consumers in Trinidad and Tobago love the personal touch.
Develop Customer Confidence
People usually pardon unintentional mistakes if they are convinced that the same will not be repeated in future.
Your response to an unsatisfied customer should be phrased to convince the customer that the problem at hand was a one-time mistake and arrangements are now in place to make sure that this does not happen in future. This resolve would seem more meaningful to the client if this message or communication is authenticated by a person of reasonably higher authority in the organization, e.g. a general manager etc. For online stores with online reviews this can go a long way.
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Gratitude and thankfulness for a negative review? Yes, it is logical! Time is precious. If someone has taken some moments of his/her time to write even a negative review, their time and effort might benefit your setup, all successful ecommerce sites pay very close attention to this.
Every problem, however minor, must be studied in detail to identify any inefficiencies and improve the system. Negative reviews must be taken in this positive spirit. A person, pointing out the weaknesses of our system at the cost of their precious time, thus deserves a sincere note of thanks.
Politely shift communication channels
Respond to comments and reviews on the public forum. If, however, the problem at hand requires intricate discussion with the customer, tactfully persuade the customer to switch to some private communication channel.
The other channels might include email, phone or video call etc. The advantage of conversing on these private channels is that a candid discussion and data sharing can take place between both sides. Moreover, you may offer a solution or motivation for this particular customer only.
The aim is to satisfy this customer and at the same time keep your solution or incentive, hidden from the rest of the public. Moreover, request the customer to delete or review their negative comments. After all, no one is listening or reading!
Reward, Compensate or Reimburse
One of the effective ways to pacify a displeased customer is to offer any sort of compensation for their inconvenience.
It could be in the shape of a gift, refund or discount etc. Base the type and amount of compensation on the particular situation and mood of the customer.
This is another form of persuasion. Make this offer on a private communication channel so that other customers might not take a lead and tend to write negative reviews to earn some bargaining advantage.
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Pursue until a successful conclusion
Stay focused. The aim is to achieve complete customer satisfaction. The conversation on any of the private or public forum should ultimately achieve this aim. This requires constant pursuance and frequent follow up with the customer.
Make the customer feel elevated by your efforts. At this point, discretely make up the customer’s mind to delete his bad review or at least add some positive remarks that reflect your organization’s valuable efforts in the resolution of the problem.
Can we remove a bad review from Google?
Yes, it may be done. However, move systematically. First, make all-out efforts to convince the customer to remove the negative review. In case, the customer refuses to do so for any reason, make sure that your efforts for the resolution of the problem are amply highlighted on the public forum for the consumption of other prospective clients.
There can however be a situation where the negative comments violate Google’s code of conduct or content guidelines, in any form. In this case, approach Google with a removal request after flagging the comment as ‘inappropriate’. The removal might take some time, though the deletion is not guaranteed since the decision to do so lies with Google.
A continuous and determined effort is required to keep your customer satisfied. Always stay positive and optimistic. Make sure that the quality of your product/service, ease of availability and other marketing aspects are fine-tuned to ensure complete customer satisfaction.
Your interactive approach can timely guard against the raising of any negative reviews. It is better to expend your efforts and resources in improving and providing the best services rather than being bogged down in the hassle that follows one single bad review.
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