There is no escaping it. As the old adage says, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. But that is exactly the pressure that today’s small businesses face. They feel they must please everyone in order to get that positive online review in Yelp, Google, et al. More importantly, they must avoid garnering a negative review. This can be the death knell for a business. It doesn’t just affect those with web-based businesses, but local entrepreneurs as well. Is there no way out? For some it is worse than others, as expressed in the following chart:
If that doesn’t make you nervous enough, take a look at these stats from WebsiteBuilder.org:
- Positive comments from customers or clients produce an average increase in sales of 18 percent and that consumers are likely to spend 31 percent more because of positive reviews.
- Conversely, 22 percent of consumers won’t buy your product or service after reading just one negative review and four or more bad comments can take up to 70 percent of a business’s potential customers away.
These things happen. It’s a part of business in the 21st century. As long as you’re aware that a review took place and you’re proactive in responding, you can still maintain your reputation. It really is just another way that you have to put a positive spin on something that has gone wrong. First things first. Once you have seen the review, you must make a decision to respond or not to respond. By getting in touch with your customer you show them that you empathize with their situation, and you are attempting to mend the problem. This is good, even if they don’t change their review. You did the right thing. With that said, some reviews were not meant to be responded to. Whatever the case may be, remember that reviews are more than likely going to stay online. You can try disputing the review, but this rarely changes anything.
A lot of how you respond to a negative review is really going to come down to your gut feeling, as you would with many of the business dilemmas that you face. Put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes, and try to understand how that review affects them. If you only have a couple of reviews and one is negative, that’s a tough pill to swallow. On the other hand, if you have hundreds of reviews, with only a negative or two, probably no big deal.
Yelp was founded in 2004 to help people find great local businesses like dentists, hair stylists and mechanics. Let’s look at a case study of Yelp.
Two things jump out from this case study. One, in the restaurant industry, Yelp can increase their revenues by 5% to 9% per each additional star. That’s pretty incredible. Second, when searching for terms like “highest rated” or “most reviewed,” they were rarely found in the search. They will have to wait to see that information until they get to you on Yelp.
At the end of the day, even with your best pitch, not every angry person will have a change of heart. And don’t ask people to take a review down. This could make things worse, especially if you haven’t resolved anything for that person. Finally, after addressing a problem and the individual is once again satisfied, you should ask for an update to the review. They might update it or they might take it down. Let it be up to them. If they do, fantastic! If not, you gave it the good ole American try.