Negative reviews can really hurt.
When you've put your heart and soul into your business, reading scathing complaints doesn't feel very good.
Most people's first instinct is to ignore it.
People only really post online reviews if they're either really, really impressed with something, or they had a really terrible experience.
So while good reviews tend to be filled with glowing praise, bad reviews tend to be really, really bad.
What should you do when you get a bad review for your product, your service, your latest book, or something else you or your business created?
Should you just shrug it off?
Maybe, but sometimes you should respond.
In some cases, not responding may, in itself, come across as a response.
They might assume you explicitly chose not to respond, and that this choice means something.
Some people are jerks in online reviews, so use your best judgement.
But a recent article from Convince & Convert offers a couple of really good reasons to consider humanizing your brand by responding personally to negative reviews.
Two Truths to Convince You to Respond
Certainly, it can seem easier and better to simply ignore customer feedback. After all, “ignore the trolls” is a popular saying, right?
But “ignore the trolls” is actually terrible advice, for two reasons.
1. No response is a response.
At some point in your life, you have almost assuredly complained to a business and heard NOTHING back from them.
Did that make you feel better about that company, or worse? Worse, of course.
I researched that attitude shift in my book, Hug Your Haters. In my research with Tom Webster into the science of complaint, we found that not answering a customer complaint decreases that customer’s advocacy about your business by as much as 50 percent. You are essentially kissing that customer goodbye, forever.
As my friend Shep Hyken says, “A customer you don’t respond to is a customer you should be prepared to lose.”
2. It’s about the audience.
But what if you are prepared to lose the customer?
In my friend’s case, it was already pretty unlikely that she was going to be able to sell her next book to the unhappy reader of her current one.
I advised her to reply to the one-star review not to placate the customer, but as a demonstration to the audience of hundreds or thousands of people on Amazon.com that will stumble across that one-star review from today into the future.
The economic impact of the audience is far, far, far greater than the economic impact of whichever single customer complained.
This is why online customer interactions on Amazon, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter, Houzz, and hundreds of other places has totally changed the math of customer service.
Customer interactions are often a spectator sport today, and every reply to a customer is nothing but an opportunity to demonstrate your values in a way that will nudge members of the audience to buy from you.
This is why Shep Hyken, me, and many other customer service consultants say that “customer service is the new marketing.”
You can find more advice for dealing with negative customer feedback over at Convince & Convert.