Deleting a bad review may seem like the best option at the time, especially if it made your blood boil, but it can be detrimental to your business in the long run because it hides the truth.
Research shows that 68 per cent of customers have further trust when they see both good and bad reviews for a business. This is largely because the contrast in reviews shows credibility and authenticity.
It’s important to remember that customers who’ve engaged with a business are entitled to voice their opinions in an honest and constructive manner – whether the feedback is positive or negative.
So, before you hit the delete button, carefully consider the feedback and the image you’re wanting to portray to future customers. Consider working towards turning a negative into a positive.
In today’s technological society, customers are more likely to post feedback online than to share it in person. They simply don’t like confrontation. This can make reviews feel worse because you’re reading them with little to no context, and, in some cases, they can be downright rude and unfair.
This is still not a cause to delete them provided they are not violent, harassing or encouraging other similar types of behaviour that threaten the safety of your community. We’re not going to be able to change this shift in delivery of feedback. If anything, accept that your business is bound to be exposed to both positive and negative feedback online and focus on improving your community management process.
If a customer posts a negative review, it is important to understand what went wrong in the customer journey and offer a solution. Consider a negative review as an opportunity to investigate why the customer has given that feedback and try to speak with them to better understand the situation that took place.
Sensis’ own data has shown that 80 per cent of customers will change their online review when contacted by a business, which demonstrates why conversations with customers post-transaction are essential. A business is purposefully being dishonest and deceitful to its customers by removing their opportunity to provide honest and genuine feedback on the experience.
We all know that customers have, at times, been unreasonable and posted scathing reviews that fail to mention their own behaviour. In fact, we might have even done this ourselves at one point.
These types of reviews can reduce the likelihood of a customer using your business, particularly if there are no other reviews to provide balance. The worst thing you could do is lose your cool online, or simply delete the review because the customer will have a record of it, and it’ll look worse for you.
In this instance, it’s best to sleep on it, then get to the bottom of the issue with the employees involved. Write up a brief, factual response and post this response to the review. This way, your customer can understand the real situation, and see your open and honest approach to customer service.
At the end of the day, the best way to tackle negative reviews is to be proactive in managing them.
The ACCC has further advice on how to handle negative reviews, but it’s also worth investigating how to handle positive reviews as well, like showing gratitude, which can help balance out any negative feedback you receive.
Reviews are part and parcel with owning or running a business, and they no doubt significantly impact purchasing decisions and determine whether someone trusts your business.
Stephen Palmer, Executive General Manager, White Pages