One of the most difficult aspects of running a business can be managing the responses from the public. We all want to generate positive buzz on sites like Google and Yelp, but receiving negative reviews is an unavoidable aspect of the online marketing experience. As the saying goes, you can’t please all the people all of the time. Though it can be tempting to overreact to a negative review, there are ways to harness them to your advantage and mitigate the risk they pose. Rather than seeking ways to hide or remove criticisms of your business you feel are unfair or unwarranted, responding to negative reviews can have lasting positive benefits.
Well, customers are just as interested in how businesses confront critique as what they are being criticized for.
The Positive Effects of Responding to Negative Reviews
Yes, you read that correctly—responding to negative reviews can actually create positive results. Statistics show that of the customers who received a response from a company after posting a negative comment, 33% turned around and posted a positive review, while 34% deleted the original negative review. This suggests that, while businesses will be unable to please everybody, many customer criticisms can be addressed through communication.
In addition, businesses that respond to customers are more likely to keep them in the future and develop increased brand loyalty. Customers want a transparent, personal relationship with the companies they trust. Responding to negative reviews shows that your business cares, is responsive, and is willing to engage with customers. When businesses don’t regularly answer criticism, it increases the potential of losing customers by close to 15%.
Now, most of us could have guessed that responding to negative reviews is just good customer service. But did you know it’s also good SEO?
Google prefers businesses that regularly respond to their reviews, and they’re more likely to highlight engaged businesses. They say that high-quality reviews can improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. This makes sense, as Google’s search audience finds responsive companies to be more credible than those that refrain from answering feedback.
Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews
First, when it comes to responding to negative reviews, the content of the review isn’t the only factor that matters. It’s important that you respond to negative reviews as quickly as possible, preferably within 24 hours. Not only is this good for SEO and marketing—it’s good customer service. Make sure you are a regularly checking your reviews or hire a dispensary reputation management service to do it for you.
A negative review can get you riled up—don’t respond immediately. Look at the stated problem from your customer’s perspective (even if it feels to you that they are just being mean or that their comments are unjustified). You have the opportunity to turn the situation around with what you say.
Apologize to the customer for their experience and share your contact info to take the conversation offline. Keep it short and simple, but kind. For example, “Hi Mary, I’m sorry you weren’t happy with the service you received during your last visit! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your experience. Thank you for leaving a review and letting us know what we can do better.”
Finally, be sure to thank every customer for taking the time to leave a review. This shows that your business is professional and able to handle criticism, which can go a long way toward ensuring their patronage in the future. Need more advice? Our Essential Guide for Managing Dispensary Online Reviews offers plenty!
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