It is unavoidable for any business to receive negative reviews. Although you strive a great service to your customers and offer only the best quality products, someone somewhere will be unhappy with the transaction and leave a bad rating.
You cannot please everyone. One or two bad reviews, in the sea of positive ones, are unlikely to hurt your business.
However, if you are getting a couple of bad reviews, how will it affect your profit and reputation? Here are some things you can expect.
Lower SEO Rating
The amount of work you have done to create a welcoming and engaging website will be undermined by having negative ratings.
A huge part of online traffic comes from organic searches. If a user is looking for a restaurant, for example, they hop onto Google or Ecosia to find one in their area. Often, they go to whichever business comes first on the front page of the search results.
You have to outsource SEO services to get to the top of the search results of every search engine. However, your efforts will be useless if you have tons of bad reviews.
Google’s John Mueller already confirmed that negative reviews can harm a website’s ranking. The most widely-used search engine picks up user sentiment when considering which businesses to push to consumers.
You Lose Potential Customers’ Trust
If you want to ask for recommendations, where do you go?
Many people rely on advice from family members, friends, and acquaintances. However, according to a survey, 85% of consumers trust reviews of strangers on the internet as much as the people they know.
Reviews that seem genuine, peppered with personal experience, and thorough and articulate are more trustworthy. Customers say that positive reviews make them trust the business more. They believe that, because others had a positive experience, they, too, will have a pleasant transaction.
Bad reviews, of course, do the opposite. Customers would not take a chance on businesses that others have had negative experiences with.
However, do not worry about fake accounts spamming negative reviews. Consumers are less likely to trust reviews coming from anonymous accounts and do not seem genuine.
You Lose Income
The most obvious effect of negative reviews is lost income. The negative reviews you get are turning potential customers away.
A recent study by Womply found that businesses that have a star rating of 1 to 1.5 on Google received 33% less revenue than the average enterprise.
Moreover, trying to repair your reputation would cost you a lot of money and would decrease profitability.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
Having negative reviews is not the end of the world. You can still turn the public opinion around.
Have your customer’s service department monitor major review sites. If a bad review pops up, respond immediately, apologize for the bad experience they had, and offer to make amends. Give them a discount, for example, or a free dessert when they go back to your business. You should also promise to reassess your products and services to meet the quality that your consumers expect from you.
Most of the time, when a customer receives a response from the business, they change their opinion. They might even give you a better rating and let everyone know that you care about consumers.
Reviews can make or kill your business. While negative reviews are normal, overwhelmingly bad consumer experience will affect your business. Strive to provide good products and services to your customers and listen to what they have to say so you know where you can make improvements.