Online reviews can make or break your brand reputation. That’s a hard fact that too many brands learn the hard way. The best way to counter bad reviews is to have a online reputation management strategy in place before it happens. There are different steps you can take as a brand to prevent bad reviews from spreading like wildfire.
It’s really amazing how much damage even one bad review can wreak on a brand’s reputation. For example, United Airlines had a single incident that cost them $180 million. Although this is an extreme case, it does show how devastating things can get for a company when a customer becomes disgruntled.
Data shows 67 percent of customers use online reviews to help them make purchasing decisions. So not only are you at risk of dealing with unhappy customers, but you also risk losing prospects at the gate. The internet is like a skeleton in the closet that never goes away. These online reviews are always there until they get pushed down in the search results. And that’s exactly what online reputation management services do.
How Can Negative Reviews Impact Your Business?
This is an important question to assess because its your livelihood that’s at stake here. One thing reputable online reputation management experts in Los Angeles recommend is ensuring that your products, services and customer service are on par. This is normally where unhappy customers stem from. If you have these in line, then your chances of getting bad reviews lower substantially.
Of course, it’s impossible to keep everyone happy, so it’s necessary to have an online reputation management strategy in the works. When a customer does give your company a bad review, it’s important to address it as quickly as possible. Numbers show that 72 percent of consumers are looking for a reply to their negative feedback within the hour.
If you don’t have a dedicated person or team to meet this standard, then you risk turning that small problem into a major issue. Simply responding to their concerns can lighten their mood, decreasing the chances of them doing more harm.
According to a Harvard University study, restaurants can face a decline in business due to negative reviews on sites like Yelp. For every one star increase in your Yelp rating, there’s a five to nine percent revenue increase. There’s also a difference in revenue for a restaurant with a three star rating and one with a five star rating (up to 18 percent difference).
— I Think An Idea (@ithinkanidea) December 19, 2016
Turning a Negative into a Positive
The way you reply to unhappy customers can be the difference between putting out a fire and kindling one. Being courteous and professional is of the utmost importance. This will deescalate the issue and depict your brand in a positive light. Those who come across this negative review will see how well your brand responded and you will get kudos for that.
Reaching out to unhappy customers can also increase your chances of winning them back as loyal customers. Research shows that for every customer that complains, there are 26 others who choose to say nothing. So it’s very likely that there are others who are unsatisfied with your brand as well. Addressing the issue could potentially keep these other unhappy customers from leaving your brand completely.
Correcting the mishaps between your brand and customers will strengthen relationships. And since this is on display via a forum or online review website, your brand will also build respect.
At the end of the exchange, it’s good to ask the customer to provide a follow-up review. Hopefully, they will give an honest positive review, further showcasing your brand’s ability to do whatever it takes to please its customers.
Your online reputation takes careful and consistent management. Make sure you have a strategy in place to ensure your brand isn’t tarnished from just one bad review.