Have you ever been a consumer on the end of one of these 5 ways that local businesses have treated you when it comes to your feedback? This is more common than you think and can turn away potential and existing customers faster than almost anything – even a poor service experience.


We have said it before and we will say it again, the fastest way to connect with a customer is to listen to them, understand them, and respond to them so they know you care about them as a consumer. It might seem like just an extra task to pay extra attention to your online reputation, but more 4-5 star reviews will boost your business, guaranteed.


So let’s turn the tables and look at how you can turn those ways you are disconnecting with your customer-base into ways you can closely connect with them:


1. Respond Promptly

Because 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews, you can shift the impact of negative reviews by responding as quickly as possible. When potential customers see the business apologize and offer to make amends for a negative experience, they are more likely to see the review (and the business) in a positive light. 


2. Write like a Person, not a Robot

It takes roughly 40 positive customer experiences to undo the damage of a single negative review, but if you reply to the negative review in a personalized and authentic way, your thoughtfulness will offset that ratio. Treat each customer experience as an individual one. 


3. Avoid Negative Reviews 

Do what can to avoid the negative reviews in the first place. Ask for feedback right after the service is complete. Most people just want to be heard. If they have a complaint or frustration, listen to them without reacting or getting defensive. Assure them you will do everything you can to resolve the issue. 


4. Get the Review Removed

If you’ve successfully resolved the issue with your customer, you can ask them if they’d be willing to change or remove the original negative review. If you feel the review violates Google’s review standards (it’s fake, from a competitor, or is offensive), you can flag the review through Google’s official process and/or file a claim with Google’s Small Business Support.


5. Increase Positive Reviews

The best way to combat negative reviews is to flood in the positive reviews! Research shows that the likelihood of purchase peaks at a star rating of 4.0 – 4.8, then decreases as the rating gets closer to 5.0. So a few negative reviews can actually help by creating authenticity and trust that your reviews are made by real customers. But as we mentioned above, you need about 40 positive reviews to undo the damage of 1 negative review. So focus on getting new positive reviews!


If you are feeling the effects of negative reviews against your local business, don’t worry! These things can be improved, and there are important steps you can take to right the wrongs. For more tips on customer connection, you can follow the FreshLime blog and do a demo to see how our Customer Connection Platform gets you closely connected with your customers to improve your online reputation and grow faster here.


For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. If any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!


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