The importance of addressing negative reviews

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It seems like everyone from my doctor to my car dealer wants me to give their performance a good review these days. Can it take just one bad experience to trigger a negative review and turn off prospects? Good question! Clearly, understanding the potential positive or negative power and responding accordingly is important for a dealer to consider these days.

Negative reviews are every business owner’s nightmare. So says my favorite business blogger Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company. That said, she says it’s really a double-edged sword: “But if you think a bad review or two turns away customers, think again,” she advises. “A few less-than-stellar reviews can actually make customers trust your reviews even more. If a business has no negative reviews, 95 percent of consumers suspect the good reviews are fake, or the bad reviews have been censored.”

Surprisingly, 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Moreover, consumers spend an average of 31 percent more money with companies that have excellent online reviews. Conversely, zeroing in on the millennials in particular, a whopping 60 percent will share a bad experience by writing a complaint, post it on social media, or leave a negative review.

So how should a dealer deal with negatives? Writing for “Bank of America Small Business Community,” Rieva recently offered these tips:

  1. Reply to a negative review as soon as you see it. (There is reputation management software for small businesses).
  2. Express empathy for the customer’s unhappiness.
  3. Don’t discuss it in public. Ask the customer to contact you privately by phone or in person.
  4. Once resolved, ask the customer if they’d be willing to add an update to their original review. Read Rieva’s full article.

Getting those positive reviews should certainly be the priority. To do it, here is a sampling of Rieva’s dos and don’ts:

  • Do ask customers to review your business. When you know a customer is happy, say something like: “We'd love it if you’d review us on Yelp” or “We’ll send you a request to review us and we hope you’ll take time to do it.”
  • Don’t make customers search all over to review you. Direct them to your selected, specific review site(s).
  • Do print “Please Review Us” on your receipts or invoices.
  • Don’t assume you’re finished after you get some positive reviews. It has been determined that consumers will read an average of 7 reviews before they feel confident about a business. You want new, fresh reviews coming in.
  • Do include requests for reviews in your emails, newsletters and other marketing materials; also indicate which review site(s) you’re on by using some signage in your showroom.

Finally, Rieva hits the absolute top target when it comes to getting good reviews: “Provide great service! Yes, it’s obvious, but too often forgotten,” she warns. “The only sustainable way to get more positive reviews is to offer outstanding products and services.”


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