Review scores are fundamental to all businesses – fact – “91% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses either regularly or occasionally.” But did you know that the worse the review the better? Of course, we don’t want your business to be inundated with negativity – it can be a cruel world out there, the virtual one especially – but a study carried out by Location3 exhibited that ratings between 4.2 and 4.5 stars had much higher conversion rates than ratings that were higher. Furthermore, the study suggested how the more responsive a business was to such reviews, the higher the conversation rate.
Consumers are real people, we’re all human, no one’s perfect. We enjoy balanced reviews – we’re all partial to a debate – and most importantly, we like to see people rectify situations and respond, again, in a human way. This enables us to see how responsible, trusting and proactive a company is, for if issues do arise, it would be dealt with professionally and effectively. And we’re a sceptical lot – businesses that boast over-zealous glowing five-star ratings deter our interests as we scrutinise their validity. Without criticism, businesses aren’t able to project their excellent customer service, personality or validate their authenticity.
Everyone gets hate mail – how to creatively respond to hate, to elevate
In the cyber world, it’s safe to say that everyone is a hell of a lot braver. Flouting their instinctive evolutionary roots of general niceness, users have time to conjure up negative responses and sarcastic reviews that one would never carry out in real life. Hence, a business’ need to be proactive and prepare for the hate – because you’re going to get it, and if you don’t, you won’t get any business! What has been provably effective is a business’ ability to respond, a recent study from BrightLocal proves “68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both bad and good scores.” And if a customer likes the outcome, results show how “if a business resolves its issue quickly and efficiently, 95% of unhappy customers return to your business.”
But what does Google think of bad ratings?
It is a given that Google will drop your page ranking in online search results, particularly in the map listings, prioritising the top-rated services first to offer value for users. To some, this isn’t so fair and is unfavourable but there is a solution – get to work! Invest your time in replying to customer feedback, turning negatives into positives. Simultaneously, attach a voice to your brand and cause a stir on social. Through being clever when highlighting a customer issue you can effectively go viral, reaching levels of customer engagement (stardom) you could only dream of – higher than what any map-listing rating could ever aspire to attain. See how Netflix fluctuates from professionally acknowledging all customer feedback, to hilariously tweeting on a consumer’s level; “Netflix and Chill”. This brand representation conveys Netflix as an easy-going, proactive business, a company that you would want to contact and engage with again in the future.
Anyone under the age of 40 would’ve heard of (or used) the phrase “Netflix and Chill.” Although this internet slang didn’t originate from them, Netflix knows how to capitalise on this virality and speak in their audience’s language:
Netflix and chill? No, really. pic.twitter.com/ezcZ7V0peN
— Netflix US (@netflix) July 22, 2015
To summarise, ways to turn that frown, upside down
- Respond, because then as a company you look real, and not like a fake website. Not only does this give you a platform to exert your brand personality, but also a public way of demonstrating excellent customer service, for all to witness.
- Criticism can be constructive! If you realise that it’s the same old reviews you keep receiving, then similar to how a product survey works, take the advice on board and tweak your offering to improve your business. This won’t only boost your consumer experience in the future, but is also a great way to market your business – post updated prototypes of products to convey how you listen to customers, you’re determined to offer them the best and you’re proactive. Additionally, you can monitor/review your overall business rating each week/month and use it as a target to consistently better and develop your services.
- Lastly, be quick on your feet! Responding to all reviews isn’t just plain old polite – customers will impatiently grow irate when they do not receive a fast reply – but by helping users out of jams, you’ll grow a base of loyal followers who won’t only regularly use your service, but even defend you in times of trouble. Consumers become passionate and as mentioned earlier, love to debate. Infuse the two together, and you’ve effectively birthed an army of devoted fans who will rush to your low ratings in times of need and respond to opinions posted by other users – defending you to the death. They may even go as far as to share their excellent customer service across social, plugging your business to their followers – consumers love a recommendation!
To conclude, we can’t all be loved, you only have to google David Attenborough’s Planet Earth to figure that out – a measly rating of 9.4/10 on IMDB? What is life? But what matters most, is how a business reshapes, replies and reforms to come back bigger, better and higher in Google’s search results!