How to Use Bad Reviews to Boost Customer Loyalty

Sep 10, 2018 | Local Search, SEO Insights

What business doesn’t want to sincerely state that it offers 100% customer satisfaction?

Good reviews reflect customer satisfaction by highlighting the best in your business. While it’d be nice to have nothing but good reviews and happy customers galore, there is no perfect business under the sun. It doesn’t matter how much of an effort a business puts into avoiding mistakes, they happen.

Bad reviews tend to call attention to these mistakes, sprouting from unmet customer expectations. While bad reviews may seem like a business killer, they can actually be used to increase the loyalty of your customers.

With the correct perspective and response, these reviews can be used for the betterment of your company; as long as they are NOT deleted or altered, responded to in a way that caters to the customer, and most importantly, used to discover what your business could work on.

If You Have the Option, Don’t Delete Them

Oh, how the internet spoils us. Typically, reputable review platforms don’t give you the option to delete reviews but, there are a few review platforms that do. It might be tempting to erase the bad review and pretend it never happened but preserving these reviews lets customers and even potential customers see the human side of your business.

30% of consumers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews present on the platform at all. Your customers are more likely to trust your business if they can see that a) it experiences difficulties and b) those difficulties are confronted and taken care of rather than not tended to at all with no response. Your goal is to ensure that what observers see gives them a healthy impression of the way your business responds to consumer feedback.  

Respond In a Way that Caters to the Customer

It’s imperative to look at business reviews, both good and bad, with a proactive mindset instead of a reactive mindset. In crafting a clever response, it’s important to keep in mind that what you say will make an impression on those looking to interact with your business as well. The best responses to bad reviews all exhibit a crowd control statement, an apology, and a solution to the issue at hand. Bad responses to bad reviews, however, display a more defensive attitude. A good example of such a response can be found in this hotel review response:

Immediately, you can sense that the owner does not care about how great of an experience his hotel provides with his opening statement, “Honestly what do you expect.”. The entire tone of the message thereafter reads careless as to how enjoyable the customers stay was. In fact, the owner even explicitly degrades his own establishment by stating “You pay little you get cheap.”.

Not only is this response enough to make others who experience the same issues not want to come back, but new prospects that stumble upon a review response like this are likely to quickly disengage with the business.  

It’s clear that the owner’s response is a reactive one and not a proactive one. Adversely, a proactive response displays more attentiveness to the customer’s experience. A great example of this can be found in the way Conn’s responds to this telling review;

Notice how the first statement Conn makes in response to the review is an explanation of the kind of service the company wishes to provide its customers. This is a crowd control statement. It says, “This is unreflective of what we strive to provide in our service” right from the start of the response.

The very next line of the response is an apology, which further drives the point home that this particular customer’s experience isn’t ideal for the company and the company certainly isn’t comfortable leaving this experience unaddressed.

Lastly, the company takes the conversation offline by stating they “want to investigate further” into the matter and “will be contacting” the customer “shortly”. More than being an excellent example of a great response, this response is an example of superb customer service; which automatically devalues the credibility of the review given and positively represents the business.

76% of consumers say they view customer service as a valid test of how much a company values them. It is important that a business conveys genuine concern and appreciation for their customers in both negative and positive reviews. No matter what the review is, the best response conveys an apologetic, positive, and forward-thinking attitude.

Take Note of Where Your Business Can Improve

Statistics show that 95% of dissatisfied customers return to businesses that take the initiative to solve issues quickly and efficiently. Your customers aren’t expecting a flawless experience with your business every single time. They are, however, hoping that if an unpleasant situation does arise, in whatever form it may, your business is proactive in resolving the issue and preventing it from happening again.

When customers see that your business is on par with customer service, responsive, resolving issues, answering questions, tending to concerns, and communicating with your customer base even through bad reviews, the focus transfers from what your business doesn’t do, to what your business does do.

A perfect example is in this response to a disappointed CarMax customer:

CarMax could have approached this review in multiple ways.

They could have left a detailed, defensive explanation as to why the sales agent was correct in his dealings according to their company procedures. They could have left the response alone to be buried in the trenches of their hundreds of reviews, mostly good. They could have simply removed the review and responded privately. What they chose to do, however, aids their business in more ways than any other response could have.

Firstly, they express gratitude for the review. This lets both the customer and those observing know that the company is not above reproach and more importantly, is grateful for it.

Secondly, they follow up with their crowd control statement. They inform the customer (as well as those observing) that “It’s always [their] goal to make the car-buying process one that’s easy and seamless for you [meaning, one of the many customers actually being addressed] as a customer,”. They ensure they let their customers know that they matter.

Lastly, they humbly invite the customer to help them improve their service by getting others in the company involved. This not only makes the customer feel important, but this shows to those observing that their customer experiences do matter.   

Now, not all bad reviews are necessarily true. Poor business practice can even lead competitors to give your business fake bad reviews in order to boost their own. Whether it comes from a mad ex-employee, customer, or business owner, these too can be responded to in such a way as to boost your customer’s loyalty and attract more business.

Let’s take a look at a review response by Lone Star Floors:

While the response in itself seems slightly generic in nature, one of the things this response displays perfectly is the lack of history between the business and this supposed customer.

Lone Star Floors opens their response by expressing that the customer’s experience is not ideal or reflective of their company culture. By mentioning that the customers’ name “does not show” in their “database”, they remove the relevance from the fake review. Those reading the review and review response can clearly see that the business has no recollection of engaging with such a customer but can respond well to situations like these by tending to such reviews sincerely.      

It’s important for a business to take the time to let the customers know that they are being listened to. This establishes a relationship with the customers and in turn, invites them to engage with the business through all of the ups and downs they could encounter.

An essential part of good customer service is taking note of customer complaints and using them to better your business. Not only does this increase customer loyalty, but it can attract more leads inadvertently. When leads observe that a business is on par with customer service, it lets them know that the business cares about delivering nothing but the best quality to their customers.

Start Using Bad Reviews for Good!

Bad Reviews are great ways to display your business’s authentic approach to handling issues. This keeps the customer wanting to come back and engage with your business all the more while displaying to customers you have yet to gain that your company is adaptable and workable.

You may not have the time to sift through your business’s bad reviews. At Hyperlinks Media we are experts at customer-business relationship management. Feel free to contact us regarding your business’s reviews, we’d be happy to assist you in a response.

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