Some business owners completely miss out on all the positive sales and marketing benefits that come with having good reviews simply because they’re scared of a few negative ratings, so they don’t bother with reviews at all.
No one likes to hear negative things about their business, but although it may be hard to believe, those negative reviews aren’t all bad and can actually enhance your tech business site’s overall review strategy.
With 72% of customers reporting that they won’t make a buying decision without reading reviews for a company first, simply ignoring the power of reviews because you don’t want any bad ones could seriously be hurting your business growth prospects.
Here’s Why Negative Reviews Aren’t All Bad
Online reviews for your IT business can completely energize your marketing engine. They’re like the torque that gives you the power to close a sale and stand out above your competition.
And while you do definitely want more positive reviews than negative, you shouldn’t treat a few negative reviews as if you were superman being exposed to Kryptonite, because they actually do have some value and can help enhance your reputation in several different ways.
Here’s why you shouldn’t run and hide from your negative reviews.
They Offer a Worst-Case Scenario
Negative reviews are sought out by 82% of shoppers deciding to purchase a product or service. That’s because they want to know the worst-case scenario about doing business with a company. If all you have is glowing reviews, they’re going to be suspicious.
If the most negative review you have is someone saying that your technician was late one time, and then they see a reply from you apologizing and acknowledging heavy traffic that day, that negative review is going to work in your favor rather than against you. If once you were late due to traffic, most customers will see that “worst-case” scenario as not that big of a deal and feel better about working with you.
People Will Believe Your Positive Reviews More
When all you have are 5-star ratings, customers will question how honest all your reviews are and whether or not you’re deleting negative reviews. This is due to the “too good to be true” factor.
Studies show that ratings between 4.0 and 4.7 stars have a higher conversion rate than ratings between 4.7 and 5.0 stars. That’s because people trust them more as being legitimate because they show a balance and that no one is perfect all the time.
Give You a Chance to Show Your Responsiveness
Not responding to negative reviews online is a big mistake many businesses make. They run and hide, rather than being responsive and trying to save a relationship if they can, and if not, showing other review readers they work to make things right.
89% of consumers read a company’s response to reviews.
By responding to negative reviews in the right way ( see tips further down in this article), you can actually score points with others reading through reviews and comments because they’ll see you as a company that works to make things right and that takes responsibility when things don’t go as planned.
Everyone makes mistakes, and how you handle them can gain you trust points with potential customers.
They’re a Learning Opportunity
Customer feedback is important if you want to continually improve your business. So even though you may not like hearing it at first, constructive criticism can make your business better.
I you see that customers are mentioning a lag issue with your remote login, that lets you know that it’s an area you need to address, and potentially switch the tools you’re using for remote support.
Just as positive reviews let you know what you’re doing right, negative ones can give you insight into what you can do better to improve your customer experience.
Get a Chance to Save a Relationship
If someone is unhappy with their experience at your tech business, you might never know about it if you don’t address negative reviews. What you know about, you have a chance to fix, which means you can often save the relationship.
Often customers just want to have a problem acknowledged and know that the business cares enough to try to make things right. A full 95% of unhappy customers will return to the company if the company makes an effort to resolve their problem in a timely manner.
That means by simply promoting reviews and giving customers an outlet to voice their concerns, you have the opportunity to keep clients that may have left because of one specific bad experience.
Use them to Promote Your Business Growth
What? Use negative reviews to promote your business? Sounds crazy, right?
But you can actually use them to your advantage to show you’re making changes to address issues customers have voiced.
For example, if you receive some reviews that say something like, “Decent service, but I had to reduce their rating by a star because they close too early,” you can use that to promote new business hours.
Example: “You’ve spoken, and we’ve responded! Many customers wish we were open later so they could get our expert tech help after work. We now have extended hours Monday through Thursday.”
Negative Reviews Aren’t “Bad” to Everyone
One person may complain that your company “calls too much” when following up. Another person running across that negative review might see that as a positive attribute that your company does a great job with follow up and not a drawback at all.
Feedback can be perceived in different ways by different readers, so all bad reviews aren’t necessarily seen that way by everyone that reads them.
Can Give You an Opportunity to Teach Employees
Used in the right, constructive way, you can employ negative (and positive) reviews to teach employees why certain company policies are important.
For example, if you just tell everyone that it’s important to email the customer their quote within 1 business day of a visit, they might not understand why it’s such a big deal and start to miss that deadline and get them out 2-4 days afterwards.
But often hearing it from the customer themselves can make the difference.
If you show that employee a review where a customer said, “I didn’t use them because their quote was late, and I only had two days to present IT service options to my boss,” Then the importance of getting those quotes out fast becomes crystal clear.
Tips for Responding to Negative Reviews
There are some golden rules when it comes to responding to negative reviews so that your response helps you rather than turns off potential customers.
Here are several tips to help you come out a hero when responding to negative reviews.
DO Respond to Negative Reviews
Don’t ignore negative reviews, even if you feel they’re completely unfair. Not responding looks bad and gives the negative review more validity because you didn’t respond at all.
Using a service, like Tech Reputation, reduces the time it takes to search out new reviews that need a response by sending you alert any time a new review is posted on a popular review site so you can respond right away.
Don’t Take it Personally
Getting defensive in a negative review reply is NOT a good look. It makes you look like a company that has a chip on their shoulder and might be difficult to do business with.
Instead, take a breath and wait until the initial emotion of reading a bad review has subsided, then respond professionally with something along the lines of:
“Sorry to hear that you had a less than great experience. We would definitely appreciate the opportunity to make things right. We’ve reached out to you by phone and email and look forward to resolving your issue.”
Then, if the person responds with more negativity, you can simply repeat that you’d like to make things right and you are there if they’d like to discuss the issue. You end up looking like a hero to others reading the review comments, even if the other person doesn’t respond positively.
Validate the Person’s Feelings & Be Authentic
Many people just want to feel heard when they write a negative review and often their words will be colored by that need to be validated and their emotions in the moment.
Even if you weren’t at fault, you can still say that you’re sorry that their experience wasn’t what they expected.
And if you really did make a mistake, owning up to it not only can often change the conversation to a more positive one, it will also show that you’re an honest company that acknowledges your mistakes and works to correct them.
Take the Conversation Offline
You don’t want to get into a back and forth discussion in the comment thread of a negative review. Not only could it come off looking like an argument, you or the customer could accidentally end up revealing personal information about their account.
In your initial reply, offer your phone number and email address and also reach out to the customer (if you know who it is from their screen name or review), and take the conversation private and offline.
Don’t Hide from Negative Reviews
While most of us would much rather get positive reviews than negative ones, those low-star reviews still hold some value and can actually be more positive than you think if you just look at them in a different way.
Have you ever changed a negative reviewer into a repeat customer? How did you do it? Share in the comments!