“Sometimes, the Internet can feel like a middle-school playground populated by brats in ski masks who name-call and taunt with the fake bravery of the anonymous. But sometimes – thank goodness – it’s nicer than real life.” – Susan Orlean
From being able to find information on various topics and happenings around the globe to be able to talk to friends and family efficiently, regardless of the time difference and distance, internet has changed the way people communicate and share information. Thus, it won’t be wrong to say that the internet has really empowered people.
However, the World Wide Web can be as depressing as it is fascinating. Apart from quick communication, the web has also given people an opportunity to communicate with the masses, from the comfort of their homes. Since, people have the opportunity to like, share, or comment on a product or service, the web has taken criticism to a whole new level.
Impact of Word of Mouth
There was a time when people would wait for reviews about a movie, restaurant, etc. from a credible source; however, with the rise of the internet, social media has become a great platform to read reviews about products, services, movies, and organizations, among others. Every person is a self-critic now and can review anything they like or dislike in just about 140 characters.
It is believed that positive word of mouth can bring in customers, while negative word of mouth can dampen the sales. Though, word of mouth is a great source of attracting customers, online reviews can make a huge difference for any small business. With plethora of ways to share their ideas with the world, people are increasingly sharing their feedbacks.
Since plenty of potential customers use the internet to read the feedback on products or services of other users before making a purchase, small and medium-sized businesses are always cautious about online complaints and negative reviews.
Understanding the Effects of Negative Reviews
Most businesses believe that a negative review can break their business; however, a recent study has shown that the negative impact of a review depends upon the percentage of ‘negative’ in it. According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer, negative reviews can actually make a positive impact, if the reviewer is a bit polite.
Research examined the impact of phrases like, “I’ll be honest…” and, “I don’t want to be mean, but…” on the perception a buyer got about a product. In fact, the research said that ‘polite’ negative reviews can actually improve how a customer views a products or services.
How to Deal With Negative Reviews and Reviewer(s)
Negative feedback can work for your business positively if you know the way to deal with it. Here how you can handle negative reviews and reviewers.
You must allow your customers to leave reviews on the website as well as on social media accounts. Make sure you keep the negative reviews because all positives will make it too sugary and you do require a few negative bits to make it look real. Moreover, they give a better look to business in the long run.
Respond to Reviews, Politely
You must respond to the reviews of your customers, whether positive or negative. But, make sure that you keep a polite tone when responding to a negative review. Try to be diplomatic and resolve the issues whenever you can. Public response will send out a message that you strive for customer satisfaction. This can have an impact on future reviewers, who are likely to behave politely as they know that you’ll read and respond to their reviews.
Humanize Your Brand
It is always better to connect with your audience and social media is the best place to do so. Show your human side to your customers by posting pictures of your staff members or giving an insight of what’s happening behind the scenes. People will sit and take notice of things because they are now dealing with humans and not faceless online businesses.
In the End
In the end, it is important for you to keep in mind that sarcasm never helps when it comes to replying to negative customer reviews. Make sure to be mature and respond politely even if the review really hurt you. Also, try to take the conversation away from social media by asking them to connect through e-mail. For maximum benefit, it is important for businesses to develop a healthy online relationship with their customers.
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