No matter how good your intentions are and despite your best efforts; you can’t make everyone happy. Every business, big and small, has had to deal with negative reviews. No one wants a bad evaluation; no one especially likes a bad evaluation announced to the public. Nevertheless, a bad review presents a unique opportunity not only to improve your services but also to strengthen public perception about you and your brand. Here’s what you need to do if a bad review bothers your small business.

The Importance of Online Reviews

Reviews are incredibly crucial for businesses. Everything is digital today. Customers rely on other people’s reviews to find out which businesses or brands they want to engage with. Why are online reviews so important?

  • Personal Recommendation – According to survey estimates, more than 80% of online consumers equate reviews to personal recommendations and are significantly influenced by them.
  • Trustworthiness – Consumers see reviews as trustworthy because they are not influenced by the businesses but come from people who have first-hand experience with them.
  • Digital Marketing – Reviews are an important SEO driver. They improve your search engine ranking. In fact, the more high-quality (i.e. long and detailed) reviews you have, the more trustworthy the site would be. This will boost your search engine rankings.
  • Engagement – Reviews give businesses the opportunity to engage with their customers, which helps build loyalty and trust.

Small Business Development

Bad Reviews are Important for Small Business Development

It won’t surprise you that most businesses try their best to get as many positive reviews as they can. It’s also not hard to imagine why a business tries to get a few negative ones as possible. However, bad reviews are just as important as good ones, if not more.

  1. Reality check. It’s easy to be blinded when you don’t see what is going on in the frontlines. Bad reviews tell business owners about the glitches and the loopholes in the whole operation. They also give you insights about how customers see your business.
  2. Room for improvement. In relation to #1, bad reviews tell business owners the areas that can be improved. This can help you build better products or offer better services.
  3. Customer understanding. With bad reviews, you gain an understanding of who your customers are, what they are interested in, where they are, and what they need and want. This could help, for instance, in your strategy for your small business website design in Sydney or other cities.
  4. Worst-case prep. Bad reviews give potential customers a glimpse of the worst thing they can experience in dealing with a business. This gives them a better understanding of their options.
  5. Too good to be true. Positive reviews are well and good but too many of them seem fake.
  6. Manage your rep. Finally, and possibly most importantly, bad reviews help you manage your online reputation. A well-executed, sincere, polite, tactful, helpful, authentic, personal response to a bad review can work wonders for your reputation.

What To Do If a Bad Review Bothers Your Small Business

  1. Never reply angrily. This could damage your reputation beyond repair. See if this has happened before or not and come up with a strategy to respond. But don’t take too long.
  2. Acknowledge and apologize. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, a customer experienced something negative, so you must acknowledge that and apologize. Show genuinely regret.
  3. Be personal and authentic. Template responses are not a good idea. A personalized response is effective in calming customers down and shows others that you really care. Be sincere.
  4. Take the details offline. Once you have publicly responded in a tact, take action offline.
  5. Deliver on your promises. Solve the customer’s problems, answer questions, and act on the issue in a timely manner.
  6. Provide an update. Go back to the public comment and thank the customer for the feedback and provide an update of what has been done so far.
  7. Chalk it up to learning experiences. Learn from the mistake and use the experience to better your services.

If a bad review bothers your small business, take it as a unique challenge and opportunity to improve your business, and impress your customers.