Reviews, whether negative or positive, eventually end up marketing your brand. When a customer writes about you on a website, blog or a social network, he/she gives you exposure and promotes you.
Marketing experts are of the opinion that customers who write down negative reviews are actually the most loyal to your brand. How you ask? Well, if you think about it, they’re giving you honest and real feedback from a customer’s point of view. In effect, they are helping you reinvent your brand and grow it in a way that is acceptable to more and more people.
And while it’s true that if a particular negative review gains traction and spreads around, it might seem like the end of the world for you, but complaining customers can easily be turned into brand loyalists if you know how to tackle them.
How reviews affect purchasing decisions
Once a customer is in buying mode, he/she will start reading reviews about your brand. If the positive reviews outnumber the negative ones, the customer is most likely to make the buying decision then and there (if a purchasing link is available).
There will also be customers who have had a one-off bad experience with your brand. These are the guys you need to deal differently. On the other hand, people who have constructed a bad impression about your brand should be dealt in a more personal manner.
If there is a credible website with considerable negative feedback on your brand, your first plan of action should be to check where the negative comments are coming from and what are the actual complaints and reasons behind them.
Difference between real customer reviews and critic reviews
What marketers have understood over the years is the fact that in most cases, a common man is going to believe the word of a common man over a professional.
Let’s take an example of a printer. If you want to purchase a printer, you would look for its reviews online and check how other people have liked the printer and whether it has worked for them. You will trust their word more than the person who has been dealing with printers for a long time.
This happens because people trust others who have spent a significant amount of money to purchase a certain product.
Not only this, people who purchase a product after reading reviews are most likely going to write a review themselves.
But in order to boost your sales, your product should receive a high amount of reviews. Even if there is a critic writing negatively about your brand, it will most likely turn into extra sales. Why?
Because people are going to read the review and try it out themselves in order to see whether the product is actually that bad. If you are able to impress even 25 percent of those people with your product, you will have managed to gain more customers.
Ways to Redeem Negative Reviews
There are certain steps which you should take in order to deal with people who have been saying negative things about your brand.
#1 – Identify the Issue
Make sure that you fully understand the problem before you take an action. Nothing frustrates customers more than support which doesn’t address the main problem.
Contact the customer through whatever means possible and start off by apologizing. It is advised that you do this at a public platform since others will be able to see how you have contacted that one person in order to sort out his/her problem. Moreover, there might be other people who are facing similar issues, and your assistance in this regard might help them too.
Once you have made the first contact, the two of you can now communicate offline, so that the customer realizes that he/she is important enough for the organization.
#2 – The Customer is Always Right
Well, the customer is always right, and that’s all there is to it. If a customer has made a negative comment about your product, they expect you to make it right for them.
You should apologize for the inconvenience caused and any other mistake on your part. And once you have admitted in front of them that it was your mistake, but you are willing to assist, you are likely to make a loyal customer.
#3 – Make the most of such opportunities
Once you have fully understood the problem and have apologized for it, you need to get on with fixing it for the customer.
If the negative review was regarding a faulty product, then it is your customer’s right to get a new one. However, if that is not possible, then perhaps you can offer certain discounts or offer a special promotion package to them. However, there is a high possibility that the offered discount might add fuel to the fire in terms of negative reviews that are already published online.
#4 – Reinvent or innovate
Only a few organizations have the ability to reinvent the product according to customer feedback. However, this is probably the strongest tool to help generate support and loyal customers.
You can invite people who have written negative reviews, hold a focus group and give them a few previews about your upcoming products. This way they can get hands on experience with the product and provide you with their feedback.
This is going to aid you in a lot of ways:
- The customer will feel good about being a part of the development stage
- You will get the right amount of feedback
- You will find out how to change your product
- You will gain loyal customers
- There is a high possibility that these customers will generate word of mouth
#5 – Social Networking and its Importance
Social networking is the least expensive and most effective way of reaching out to your customers directly. You can build strong bonds with your customers and get them involved in certain activities to keep your brand alive.
There have been several cases where organizations made a public apology on different social channels for mistakes they have made or for something that has gone wrong on their part.
In 2011, after a large snow storm left a JetBlue flight stranded on Hartford, CT tarmac for more than 7 hours, JetBlue’s COO, Rob Maruster, publicly apologized to the affected passengers on YouTube.
Customers replied back through Twitter and through Youtube comments in order to reassure to the organization that they were still loyal to them and felt that the issue was dealt with professionally by the airline.
Learn from Your Mistakes
What’s the most important thing that you need to consider after all this? Do you learn from your mistakes?
You should fully analyse what went wrong and ask questions from customers who have been sending out negative reviews about your brand.
Once you rectify those issues, you should reach out to those customers and let them know that you took their feedback into consideration and fixed things. Both impressed and satisfied, these very customers will then advocate your brand to others.