How can businesses turn negative reviews into positive customer experiences : With consumers and online shoppers savvier than ever before, customers turn to peer feedback, recommendations and product reviews ahead of making a purchasing decision.
A poor review, negative feedback or an unhappy customer can feel disastrous for businesses of all sizes. But, is there potential to turn this around? Can you turn a bad review into a positive experience? Is it possible to make changes to impress future prospects with a negative review?
According to this new survey by Feefo, there is hope yet for brands experiencing negative customer feedback.
What is customer experience?
The customer experience (CX) is the way that a customer experiences and perceives a brand or organisation. It includes the full customer journey — everything from seeing an advertisement online or hearing about a brand from a friend to interactions and engagements with the business itself. However, this experience is not always within a brand’s control. Poor customer reviews, a colleague’s bad experience with the business, or a PR crisis could quickly turn a customer experience and perception sour.
What are the benefits of a good customer experience?
Today, customers highly value great customer experiences. As a result, 86% of buyers say that they will pay more for a product with a better customer experience. Brands offering a great experience will see a range of benefits to their business, including to their bottom line. Some of the perks for businesses include:
- Increased revenue
- Higher customer loyalty and retention
- Improvements to CLTV (customer lifetime value)
- Organic referrals
- Reductions in marketing costs
- Fewer customer complaints.
How can you turn a negative reviews into a positive experience?
So, how can brands transform an unhappy customer with a negative impression of your brand into a happy customer with a positive perception of your brand and a more positive overall experience with your company?
Respond to every review
The first step to take when handling a negative review is to reply in a timely manner with a calm, measured response. Reduce the chance of snappy replies, customer-blaming or a viral-worthy comeback by creating a process for review responses.
In Feefo’s survey, 28% of respondents said that they actively look for and read negative reviews first, regardless of how recently they were posted, to get an accurate view of other customer experiences. It is thought that customers also like to prepare themselves for the worst-case scenario before buying online.
This gives brands a brilliant opportunity to capitalise on — even if they have lost the initial unsatisfied customer. Over two-thirds of consumers asked said they would continue to purchase if they saw that the business had acknowledged the poor review, apologised and offered a solution.
Improve your communications strategy
Whether you’re in a service-lead or product-lead business, having a robust communications strategy is critical for positive customer experiences. If your company is struggling with its supply chain, packing, or delivery process, communicating this to the relevant customers as well as on your website in real-time will reduce the chance of unhappy customers and poor reviews.
Similarly, firm up your communications by letting the customers know as soon operations have resumed to normal — or half-normal — to keep them in the loop. Customers appreciate honesty, authenticity and transparency from brands now more than ever before.
Give a satisfactory explanation
We know that customers want responses, but what do they want businesses to say? The study asked what elements of a response to a review were impressive, based on consumers’ previous experiences. There were six answers to select from. The top response, with almost half (45%) of the votes, was “The company provided a solution to the problem”, with “The company offered financial compensation” in second-place at 38%. It’s clear that customers just want support and aren’t always seeking compensation to resolve their complaints.
A good explanation and a satisfactory response can even turn the customer experience round entirely:
- 44% of consumers who left negative feedback have used a business again after receiving a satisfactory response
- 35% followed up with a positive review after encountering a problem that they felt was handled effectively
Verify your feedback
With fake reviews on the rise, 32% of respondents mentioned that they were concerned about this. This is one of the reasons why consumers actively seek negative feedback; 22% of consumers asked said they would delay a purchase if they couldn’t find any negative reviews about a product. This shows that customers are realists and value honesty.
One way for businesses to avoid this is by using closed-review platforms, where purchasers are invited to leave a review. Open-review platforms include Facebook, TripAdvisor and Google My Business, and leave businesses open to fake and disingenuous reviews left publicly. By only inviting verified buyers to leave feedback, prospective customers are assured that feedback is accurate.
Embracing negative feedback is a great way of understanding the journey your customers go through, of turning around a less-than-on-par experience, and of creating happy consumers. Respond, communicate thoroughly and give an explanation and/or solution to turn your negative reviews around.