A constant flow of bad reviews can sink your business. Not only will your SEO rankings take a big hit, but future prospective customers will be turned off by all the perceived wrongs you’ve done to past buyers.
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One wedding venue that has shut down in the last few years had a slew of bad reviews about hidden fees, failure to listen to the customer and poor communication when there were problems.
The point is when you ignore reviews and the issues revealed in the complaints go unnoticed by a company, then you’re risking the success of your business. Here are some other customer service pitfalls that can lead to bad reviews and fewer buyers.
1. Ignoring Customer Feedback
The number one reason a company might receive several negative reviews is the failure to address customer service issues early and often. When you ignore customers, not only do they decide not to use your business again in the future, but they’ll also tell their friends and family not to use your company either.
When you do receive negative feedback, wait for the defensiveness driven by emotions to subside and then address the issue. Even if the customer isn’t right, you’ll need to craft a strategy to help them feel satisfied with their experience.
2. Failing to Meet Customer Expectations
Customers have expectations, and when those expectations don’t meet reality, they feel disappointed. There’s a motto “under promise and over deliver,” and it works for increasing customer satisfaction.
Hubspot calls this strategy “delighting” the customer. So, how can you delight your customers today? You could deliver a finished project early, offer a surprising sale or give them a service experience that leaves a smile on their face all day.
Jetblue has a “people's officer” whose job is to surprise their customers. On one plane ride, a “people’s officer” came abroad to play a trivia game with the customers on the flight. About a dozen free tickets were distributed to the winners of the game who no doubt became lifelong customers of the company.
3. Dealing with the Issue Online Rather than Offline
A negative response has come in, and a person is claiming you did something that wronged them. Do you: a) reply calling them a liar or b) post about how bad of a person they were when they came into your store?
What about doing neither of those things? Trying to fight through a review response like it was a forum is pointless and only makes you look childish and unprofessional to other potential customers. If you can’t handle a faceless reviewer, how can you handle someone in person.
One of the problems with online reviews is they can be one star for no reason other than to hurt your overall score. Feel free to handle these to the best of your ability and with as much kindness as you can to give context to future reviewers. Try and report the fraudulent review and move on.
4. Taking Negative Feedback Personally
When someone addresses your company, your brand, your employees, and even you in a negative review, it can be easy to take that personally. They just insulted you and everything you stand for, right?
Not exactly. A negative review is bound to happen, and they are going to try and take out all of their frustrations on you because they feel wronged. If you are going to respond, give it a moment to simmer down. Realize that this is another person. Yes, it is ok for you to feel disrespected, but you don't need to take that personally.
True, it can be easier said than done, but be the bigger person in this instance. You may not be able to get the negative feedback removed, but you can still try to make amends.
If all else fails, and you have tried to make good to the person who felt wronged, many review sites offer a place where you can respond. Do so as clearly as you can and with as much kindness as you can, explaining the situation from your perspective.
Read it over and save it to post later. Have others read over it; family, friends, and colleagues. The only thing you can hope is that future readers will see that you handled, what most would consider being a personal attack, with charity and grace. Level heads will prevail now and could pay off in the future.
5. Ignoring the Potential Product Flaws
Older customers will expect the products they buy to last them a lifetime, and why not? If you buy something that promotes its quality, it should last a long time. However, as things become more technical and incorporate smaller and smaller components, and as production gets passed to the lowest bidder, finding products that last a lifetime are becoming rarer these days.
This is where you come in. Be the filter for the customer, finding the best quality products you can find to fit their needs and budget. It’s not going to be possible to drop the bottom dollar on the highest quality items but having a range of options will allow your customers to have options.
However, if you are selling low-quality goods at high-quality prices, you can expect to get feedback reflecting issues that customers will find in them. Lower quality isn’t a bad thing; some people don’t need the best quality for something they are doing but don’t advertise low-end products next to high quality. This only fools the first few customers who don’t do their research and it will come back to bite you sooner than you can move your inventory around.
Be aware and open to the fact that some products are low end. Honesty, in this case, is going to be the best policy because people will still buy the low-end stuff, while others may spend more on the higher quality goods you have for them.
6. Failing to Publish All Your Fees
Your time is valuable, and there is no sense in giving away your services. They are much-needed elements of the community, but there needs to be some form of payment for what you do.
Don’t hide your costs and fees from people who need you. While most people like surprises, having a surprise added cost is not one of those times. Giving people a bill that is larger than they expected, because they didn’t know about hidden fees, will never end well. One person will tell ten others about a bad experience they had due to billing issues, and those people will tell others.
It's incredibly easy to avoid negative reviews about hidden costs: don’t do it. It’s the easiest negative review pitfall you can avoid. Just be open and honest about your costs, people will still come to you. More people may even come to you if you are open to displaying your costs. Your competitors already know how much you charge, so why hide it from your customers?
7. Providing Misleading Information on Your Social Media Page or Website
Have you made any recent changes to your product lineup? Any big news or events? Why not take that opportunity to update your pages to reflect those changes. When someone comes and researches you, what will they find? Will the information be new and up to date? Or will they be faced with old, dated information that doesn’t reflect what you currently offer.
Take the time and take out the old and replace it with the new before anyone stumbles in and discovers what you left behind.
8. The Answer is Never “Not My Problem”
If you weren’t the original contact for the customer, you might not have all the answers. So instead of looking like someone who doesn't know what is going on, you try to shut out the customer altogether. The only problem is, this reflects badly on your brand.
Yes, this even includes situations where “the customer is always right” even though your flower shop doesn't sell swimming pools. Work with the customer to find the solution or find someone who knows how to help. Even if you don't know the answer, responding to them by slamming a door in their face is only going to make your services look bad to them.
The correct answer is: “let me see if I can help you with that.” Suddenly, the situation is a little calmer because you are taking a moment to listen and reach out to help rather than smacking them away. Sometimes, it's not about helping a customer; it's about helping another person.
Reviews are an important ingredient in a successful inbound marketing campaign. Learn more about how to handle negative reviews with our FREE ebook.