Every business owner takes care of their reputation, as well as the reputation of their ecommerce company, but as Benjamin Franklin said once, “it takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it”.
In this article, we will try to share the best practice and processes on how to deal with negative online reviews which could spoil the strong positive reputation of your e-store.
According to the 2018 ReviewTrackers Online Review Survey, overall, 34% of consumers are likely to leave negative feedback after a bad experience, when only 19% are likely to leave a positive review after a good experience on a website. Even though a number of positive comments have been growing over the last few years, complaints still attract more attention hence they have a higher frequency of queries. But the good news is that only 13.5% of those who complain hope to damage the company’s reputation, while others just want to save users from having the same experience.
Reviews are crucial during the transition from the “Consideration” stage to the “Purchase” stage of a customer’s journey. This year, more than 6 out of 10 consumers confirmed that they checked reviews on Google and more than 45% check Yelp for feedback before any purchase is made.
Let’s consider three “severity levels” of negative reviews in ecommerce: from minor to hard.
A light breeze of anxiety
We are going to start with the polite strategies of dealing with negative feedback, but in most cases, constructive feedback in ecommerce can be the perfect opportunity for improving your business.
Ideally, an ecommerce business should have an in-house manager who will monitor all the reviews and respond to them accordingly. These responsibilities can be partially fulfilled by a chatbot or by redirecting reviews to different specialists in accordance with the specific phrases included within the comments. For instance, if a review is about delivery troubles, a chatbot will ask the customer to provide an order number and redirect this message to logistics or another responsible department for a more detailed conversation.
This reliable approach will only perform as you need it to if your chatbot is to a high standard intelligent level and is able to read and recognise what a customer has written. If you launch this level of service with a low-quality chatbot which could include a one-size-fits-all auto response, this could turn into a huge problem or even an object of ridicule.
Remember, a review is a personal thing which needs an individual response.
To simplify and speed up the monitoring process, use the tools which can help you control your business reputation permanently.
Analyse your reviews
Don’t set aside the reviews you have received – segment these into constructive positive, unconstructive positive, neutral, constructive negative, and unconstructive negative. Compare their quantities and determine the main messages which can improve your performance or determine your strengths.
Try to respond to all negative reviews (quickly)
More than half of ecommerce customers expect a response to their poor reviews – not the good ones! But here we can see a problem as over 63% of those who had raised a complaint online have never heard back from those businesses.
Apologise – Try to share the consumers’ disappointment and let them know that you appreciate their opinion and will do the very best to solve their problem. Moreover, we would recommend responding to the review a second time after the problem has been solved – which in turn will show evidence to your clients that you actually care about the service provided.
If feedback was left on a social media page, you could also attempt to contact the customer directly if needed.
Tip: We do not suggest you publish a response when you are in a flush of emotion over a bad review. Instead take a short break, calm down and try to be as polite as possible in your reply.
Encourage your customers
If you have received a detailed constructive review from a customer, especially a loyal one, try to show them your gratitude for their feedback and in some situations, a refund may be appropriate, or for other cases – you could provide your consumers with a discount for future purchases, or even a small gift or bonus. This will improve your brand loyalty and inspire your clients to leave a positive feedback.
A Moderate Breeze of Anxiety
In case the situation with negative reviews has come to a deadlock – it’s time to implement Online Reputation Management (ORM) services. These can include the actions of replacing bad reviews with good ones within the top 10 search results, as well as removing the negative feedback and augments of positive comments.
These services can be efficient in the following cases:
- When negative opinions about your website are within the top search results, for the most part, are complaints against any old issues that have been resolved already.
- When only one or several negative reviews within the top search results attract much more user attention than the thousands of positive ones on your website (this also can be related to article posts or video reviews on YouTube)
- When your competitors have used “black PR” against your company
- When top review sites consist of many negative reviews about your business
- When you do not have reviews at all or only a few, but you wish to improve your online reputation.
It is common knowledge that most reviews sites forbid feedback removal, whether these are positive or negative. So let’s consider some alternative solutions which can help you clean your reputation.
Expand the artificial reviews
One of the ways to cover customers negative reviews is to publish numerous positive ones. In this case, you can employ freelance copywriters who will leave positive feedback within forums, review sites and on social media channels as well.
You should be extremely careful using this method inasmuch as every fault can aggravate the issues to your reputation. To avoid this, compose a detailed requirement for your copywriters to stick to. Here are some examples:
- Language should be simple and natural (maybe even with common mistakes)
- Reviews must not be repeated (never and nowhere else, this needs to be unique)
- Praise reviews should alternate with neutral comments
Publish articles on reliable sources
Most reputable sources will provide users with an opportunity to become an author and include content to these types of websites. This will allow you to compose an article about any feature or news which is close to your specific niche but also can include recommendations to use your website with direct links.
Try to choose those sources which are popular among your target audience and current customers, also those which appear on the first top-10 search results will help. Focus on your target audience preferences while building this type of reputation management strategy, and set aside a budget if sources you decide on, choose not to publish your article for free.
Employ SERM specialist
Search Engine Reputation Management is aimed to clean the top-10 search results from any negative comments, reviews, and slander. SERM specialists will monitor and analyse the online reputation of your company, rank drop the pages with bad feedback and rank pages higher with positive comments using a wide range of tools.
A Strong Gale of Anxiety
Unfortunately, there are several situations when handling negative reviews will take far too long, difficult and expensive, if not impossible in cases.
Reviews on pages with high-frequency requests
The more users click on a page with a negative review of your company, the more difficult it becomes for SEO specialists to reduce this page in the search results. We recommend not to delay in this situation and react immediately after review has been left.
Reviews on pages with provocative titles
Reviews with titles as “Shock! The company has cheated millions of users” or “Warning! This online shop sells fake mobile phones” always have strong engagement and often spread fast. Therefore, to reduce the ranking of these pages within the search results is almost impossible for high-quality SEO specialists. In this case, you need to issue an apology or prove your innocence publically. Moreover, it would be better if your feedback to these type of comments could be published on the most reliable and popular media resources.
Low-quality products or services
No SERM specialist can help a company which has extremely poor services, low-quality product range or even fake products, ungracious customer service managers, or huge logistic issues. Look for the problem with your team members and analyse your overall business mechanics instead of spending money on fake positive reviews.
Today, more than half of online consumers check the ratings and reviews of a website using Google before a purchase is made. Therefore, you should monitor new online reviews ceaselessly. Inasmuch as any gap could have a snowball effect especially if this is damaging negative feedback on a reliable review site.
Nevertheless, do not be afraid of constructive negative reviews, embrace them in fact as they could be a great hint and opportunity to improve your business. Reply to every bad comment and try to offer your customers the best solutions. Be polite and consider the complaint strategically.
If a negative review turns into a “pig of a problem” that spoils your reputation, try to employ ORM and SERM specialists who can push bad feedback about your company out of the top search results, forums, review sites and social media with positive reviews.
Disappointingly, if you have been neglecting your company negative reviews over a protracted period, this will be difficult to remedy the situation. In this case, revise your business mechanics, inspect your staff and do all your best to prove your marketability. Please, remember, customers bring you revenue, this is why your mission should be on customer service and satisfy customers from the start.