Bad reviews on social media – should you give them and what should you do if you receive one?
As customers, our expectations have never been higher when it comes to buying and using products and services. We want the best and often before we commit to buying or doing something we want the reassurances of others that we are making the right decision, that’s where online reviews come into their own.
We’ve all done it. Experienced something bad or unexpected when it comes to service or product quality and we’ve left a very honest, no-holds-barred, social media review documenting, often detailing every intricate moment of our poor experience. Occasionally just leaving the review makes us feel better as if we’ve taken a stand against what has happened to us.
And let’s face it a negative review can be helpful if you want to warn people or help them make better buying decisions in the future, but what about the small business you are dissing? Whilst a bad review can force someone to address any shortfalls and make much-needed improvements, depending on what has been written and how it has been shared, it can also sometimes literally make or break them. So, what should you do if you want to voice your concerns? Contact them privately (phone, email, private messaging, etc), make a public review, or do nothing and just simmer with unspent rage?
Look at the whole
Online reviews have become a pivotal part of the buying experience for many customers and businesses. But we also need to remember that what one person thinks is brilliant or awful, another might disagree entirely. We are all individuals and as such expect different results. So, I think it’s worth pointing out that whilst reviews are a useful guide, they should be viewed as a whole rather than just isolated comments. For example, if a business has over 50 reviews that all give a 5-star rating and then there is 1 which is deeply critical and potentially damming, it makes sense to me to go with the majority.
But if you do get a malicious review from a dissatisfied customer, what should you do? Remember it’s not possible in many cases to just remove it, it can be there for years thanks to Google and its clever algorithms! To me, the success of a review is how a business handles it. So, my advice is to contact the person(s) who made the comments and talk through their issues, trying to find a resolution and soothe their anger, etc. along the way if you can.
Not always a solution
However, if even after talking to them, you are unable to turn their negative experience around or try to pacify them with a discount or a refund, then there is nothing you can do, and you must move on and think about the bigger picture. Not everyone wants a solution, some people just like being angry.
Whilst negative reviews can be seen as bad news, research suggests that few bad reviews are posted with any kind of malicious intent. The negative comments and perhaps the tone can often be put down to a knee-jerk reaction. And potentially with the benefit of time and speaking to the company involved, they may have not happened or at the very least been less aggressive.
Timing is everything
In addition, research shows that when customers feel their reviews have been responded to appropriately, more than half said they would shop with or reuse the same business again. Some have even edited their reviews and made them more positive because of timely and helpful communications.
A business doesn’t have to have exclusively glowing reviews, in fact, if it did it might look like the reviews were manufactured, think Amazon here! So, my advice is don’t worry. Make contact, listen, understand and try to get a resolution. Above all, address any issues quickly, instigate immediate changes if necessary and learn from what people tell you so you can ensure that it doesn’t happen again.