Results from a recent survey by ServiceSeeking has found negative reviews greatly reduce a business’s chance of success and SMBs should ignore them at their peril.
Whilst customer feedback is essential to the growth of any business, data from ServiceSeeking found very few jobs actually resulted in any feedback (only 7.89 per cent). Yet 82 per cent of consumers say they will check the online reviews of a business before hiring them. So, when a bad review gets into the mix, it can be especially detrimental for an SMB.
For those businesses that have built up significant online reviews, one or two negative reviews doesn’t meaningfully impact win rates. ServiceSeeking suggests if you have generated more than 10 positive reviews and then cop a negative one, your win rate will only decline by 0.45%. but the same can’t be said for the businesses that rank less than 3 stars. According to ServiceSeeking’s data, businesses with less than 3 stars win 88.1% fewer clients than those with more than 3 stars. This results in a staggering $27,488 per annum difference in trade.
So what should you do if your business cops a bad review?
Jeremy Levitt CEO of ServiceSeeking says: “Accepting mistakes and putting customers first is the important first step in creating a successful small business.”
Levitt suggests It’s natural to feel upset or angry when someone publicly criticises your business, but negative reviews are not necessarily a bad thing.
“Against a backdrop of a majority of great reviews, a few not so great ones will make prospective customers feel they are seeing a true picture of your business, and that can sway their purchasing decisions in your favour. Nothing but five-star ratings can seem too good to be true.
“But the best thing about a bad review is that as the owner of the company you have the opportunity to respond in a way that will win customers over.”
ServiceSeeking’s top tips for managing bad reviews
Look for patterns
If several customers complain about the same issue (“Mick was late”), you might have an issue deserving of closer scrutiny.
For isolated incidents
Reach out to the customer. Say sorry for their experience and extend an invitation to call or email and speak to you directly about what happened.
Let your customers know how much reviews matter
Suggest that they leave reviews on the sites that matter most to you, whether that be ServiceSeeking if you are a tradie or Facebook, or another site, and consider offering an incentive to customers who do choose to leave a review, whether it be positive or negative.
Who should respond to negative reviews?
The most authentic experience a disgruntled customer can have is to hear from the owner of the business and in reality, over 87% of negative reviews are responded to by the owner/operator.