As of this posting, Insider Pages has over 2.6 million user reviews on our site. The vast majority of them, probably 90% or more, are positive reviews written by happy customers. These reviews are gold to business owners because (1) they are visible to the 8 million + visitors coming to Insider Pages each month and (2) they tend to pop up very prominently in Google search results and Google Maps. All of this translates to more leads and more customers for business owners.
On the flip side, the remaining 10% of reviews have an average rating less than 3 stars – something no business owner likes to see – and something that gives rise to one of the most common questions from business owners – “How Can I Deal with Negative Reviews of My Business?”. Here are four tips to help you:
- Report inappropriate or abusive reviews by clicking the “Report Abuse” link displayed underneath the offending review. (You will be required to sign in so that we can ensure you are a real person with a real email address.) – This is the quickest way to deal with negative reviews. We respond to the “Report Abuse” link within 48 hours – usually within 24 hours. Any review that does not meet our terms and conditions is immediately deleted with no further scrutiny. This includes reviews with profanity, allegations of illegal activity, reviews written by current or former employees and the like. Negative reviews that meet our terms and conditions and are factual and legitimate will remain on the site which brings me to the next tip….
- Respond to negative reviews – As the owner or manager of the business you are entitled to respond to any review you’d like – absolutely free. In fact, you are welcome to “claim” your business listing for free and customize it with a “Message from the Owner”, coupons, photos, hours of business and responses to reviews. It’s all free and it is all content that gets your business noticed by Google and by Insiders browsing the site every day. Yesterday, exactly 1,010 businesses claimed their profile on Insider Pages and it’s been that way for years. It’s something you should do today because it’s free and gets you customers. Simply click on the link that says “Are You the Owner” and follow the directions. Now – having seen thousands of business owners respond to negative and positive reviews we can clearly tell you what works and what doesn’t. First, respond with class and professionalism – even if the negative review was written by someone who lost their cool. “We’re really sorry you had a bad experience. Give us another chance and your next appointment is on us.” or “Thanks for bringing that to our attention. We are really sorry you had to wait 25 minutes after your scheduled appointment time and have since added buffer time between appointments to prevent that in the future. Great feedback.” That type of tone makes it clear that you are confident in your ability to deliver excellent service – it’s your norm – and that you listen and respond like a pro. It immediately reminds readers that there are two sides to every story and lets them know you are someone who is calm under pressure. It can actually make your business stand out among others. Resist the notion to flame the offending review writer – it’ll scare people off and make you look like an amateur. Second, it’s ok to respond to positive reviews too. Thank them for their comments, compliments and ideas. Establishing a dialogue with your customers makes great business sense and adds personality to your business profile.
- Encourage happy customers to review your business on Insider Pages. 10 positive reviews will drown out 1 negative one any time. In fact users tell us that they are suspicious of businesses that have dozens of 5 star reviews with no moderate or negative reviews. They suspect that the business owner or their family members wrote the reviews. So email your best customers and ask them to write a review for you. You need to ask – they won’t think about it otherwise. Most people are happy to help out business they like by writing a good recommendation.
- Don’t review your own business. Insiders will sniff that out a mile away and click over to your competitor. (And we’ll end up deleting it). Instead – claim your page and write a nice “Message from the Owner”. Be honest and conversational. People want to know you are someone they can trust.
So don’t fret if you get a negative review. Follow the four steps listed above and the data suggests you’ll start getting more customers from it!
Posted by Eric, Insider Pages GM