How to Handle Negative Reviews on Social Media
Nobody is perfect. No business is perfect, either. There are tons of reviews about your company out there. And some of them aren’t good ones. But what should you do when the negative reviews come pouring in? When you know how to handle them correctly, you can minimize the overall damage that they can cause. Here’s how you should handle negative reviews on social media. But before diving in, let’s go over why bad reviews can actually be a good thing for your business.
How Bad Reviews Can Help Your Business
When your business has positive reviews only, some cautious customers will question the legitimacy of those reviews. There are tons of fake and paid reviews out there on almost every platform. This is an issue that customers have come to realize. And it’s why you should never remove negative reviews.
For example, just take a look at how big of an issue fake reviews on Amazon have become:
As the average ratings for businesses rise, the average weight of each review has taken a huge dip. And, it’s taken a hit on some of the biggest industries on Amazon.
However, when you have a mix of both positive and negative reviews about your products and services, you’ll appear more real. So much so that 65% of buyers look for negative reviews to gauge whether the feedback is balanced and authentic.
People will trust that the opinions out there about your company are honest ones. A five-star rating isn’t always best. Aim for a rating that’s between 4.2 and 4.5 stars. When the time comes to handle negative reviews, some might be falling through the cracks. That’s why you have to know how to find all of the negative reviews out there about your business.
How to Find Negative Reviews About Your Business
When complaints are sent directly to your inbox, you can respond quickly. And if you’re lucky, people will tag you in social media complaints, so you’ll get notifications about their posts. But they might not always tag you. And if you don’t see it, you can’t respond. That’s why you should search for your business name or any company-related keywords on Twitter. You can even add the “:(“ emoticon to specifically find negative tweets.
If you don’t want to spend all day searching for keywords (who does?), set up Google Alerts to monitor mentions across the web that include specific words.
Just enter your brand’s name or any other relevant keyword and choose how often you want to receive alerts.
You can receive immediate alerts or a roundup of alerts once a day. You can also choose the source that you want to be notified about, as well. The option also exists to receive notifications from all regions or languages or choose specific locations and languages. Another option is to use a third-party social monitoring tool to help track mentions, products, and discussions about your brand.
SmartBuyGlasses, one of the world’s largest designer eyewear e-commerce companies, gets over 60,000 questions every month from multiple channels. By centralizing their communication into one customer support tool, they were able to save $2,000, improve customer retention, and increase response rate. Now that you know how to find negative reviews, you should place your focus on actually responding.
Speed is the most important thing to remember here. The best kind of social customer support is fast customer support.
Speed Matters: Respond Quickly
People expect rapid replies online. As a matter of fact, nearly 50% of customers want a response within the first hour of their initial complaint, and approximately 30% of people want an answer within 30 minutes.
When customers leave emotionally-charged negative reviews or complaints, slow responses can leave them feeling ignored. Respond as quickly as possible to negative reviews and respond publicly. You can then move the conversation to a more private setting and deal with the matter out of the public eye by asking customers to send you a direct message.
HBR discovered that when hotels respond on TripAdvisor, they receive 12% more reviews and their rating increases, on average, by 0.12 stars. And, one-third of the hotels rounded ratings by half a star or more within six months of their first management response.
As you can see, response and response time plays a significant role in your ratings. Here’s what you should include in your response to negative comments and reviews.
What to Include in Your Response
It’s very important to restate the customer’s complaint. They need to understand that they were heard and that you value their opinion. Here’s how Honda of Thousand Oaks did this in their response to a bad review.
Never make excuses for a bad experience, either. Everyone’s first reaction to a negative comment is to explain why the problem occurred in the first place. Maybe you were short-staffed or maybe you had technical issues that day. But the customer doesn’t care. By sharing those details, you’ll look like you aren’t willing to own your mistakes.
Instead, move on to highlighting your strengths. Have you served hundreds of thousands of customers? Tell them that. Have you been in business for 20 years? Let them know. Then, offer them a solution, regardless of what it will cost you. If they had a poor experience with a product, offer to take it back and issue a refund with no questions asked. Think of it as an advertising discount. While it might cost you a little bit of money or time to make it right, you’ll show people that you value them. And they’ll be willing to buy from you again and again because they know you’ll fix any issues they might have in the future.
No company is perfect. You’re bound to receive some negative reviews every now and then. When you know how to handle them the right way, you can minimize the issues that they can cause for your business. And negative reviews can actually be a good thing because they prove that you’re a legitimate seller that isn’t paying for fake ratings.
You have to know how and where to find negative reviews before you can respond. Search for branded keywords on Twitter every now and then and set up Google Alerts. Sift through the posts mentioning your keyword and pick out the negative ones. Then, respond quickly. If you want to take it offline, ask the customer to send you a direct message. In your response, don’t ignore the issue. Address it head on and avoid making excuses. Highlight your strengths and offer a solution, no matter what it costs you.
Which social media platform are you going to respond to negative reviews on first?