If you manage your company’s social media accounts, you may be familiar with the knot in your stomach that appears when you see a negative review. Regardless of what causes the one-star rating or negative comment, it can feel like a personal attack when someone doesn’t like the business you put so much work into. Worse yet, you may wonder how it will affect your business overall.

It’s true that a bad review can feel like a sour lemon. However, if you have the right strategy for responding to negative feedback, you can make sweet lemonade.

How Important are Reviews?

Before you can learn to react to negative reviews the right way, you have to understand just how important reviews are to buyers. 86 percent of consumers read reviews of businesses before they buy. If your target customer base is 18 to 34 years of age, reviews are even more vital. These clients read reviews 95 percent of the time.

They don’t just read one review either. Consumers need to read about ten reviews on average to feel like they can trust a company. Note that they do not need to see ten positive reviews. They just need to read ten total reviews.

Why not ten positive reviews only? Because 89 percent of potential customers also read the responses from the businesses.

Make a Great Impression

As it stands, most of your potential customers are going to read reviews and responses before they buy. While these facts may initially worry some people, you can think of it as a chance to show off your customer service skills.

You can make it right with the original reviewer, for example. In your response, you can apologize for the issue, propose a remedy, and ask the customer to respond to you in a private message.

Responses like this have two great benefits. First, you may earn the negative reviewer back. Sometimes a simple misunderstanding causes a negative review and a little customer service can go a long way. In fact, 95 percent of consumers who have a negative first experience will come back to your business if you resolve it quickly.

Secondly, it shows potential buyers that you take customer service seriously. In fact, negative reviews can convert about 67 percent of readers. This is probably because many of the people who specifically seek out negative reviews are ready to buy.

When these consumers see that you have negative reviews and worked quickly to solve the problem, they know that there are real people behind the company. They also know that the business puts customers first. So, it’s worth taking a chance on your product or service.

Negative Reviews Make the Positive Ones Trustworthy

The types of customers who specifically seek negative reviews are often internet-savvy. They know fake positive reviews when they see them and they do not want to do business with companies that practice these tactics.

A few negative reviews, but not too many, show readers that the feedback is honest. For example, imagine your review collection consists of 100 entries. If five of them have negative remarks, the overall score is great, but not perfect.

Marks like this show savvy readers that all of the feedback is for real. So, those five negative reviews serve to make the other 95 entries more legitimate.

Making Lemonade

Negative reviews do not help your business if you let them sit there and hope they go away. However, a reliable strategy can help you turn this feedback into opportunities for your business.

First, be sure that the response is immediate. The sooner you reply to the customer, the sooner you can fix the issue. You should not leave more than a day in between the negative review and your response. Less time is even better.

Secondly, make sure it is personal. Do not copy and paste responses to comments and reviews. Readers will notice and it won’t look authentic. Instead, be sure to use the person’s name, address something specific in their comment, and ask them to follow up in a private message. The message ensures both your privacy and the consumers’. You do not want them to put their order numbers, contact information, or payment methods online. It also protects you from putting similarly sensitive information out there for all to see. After they send the message, respond immediately. Either solve the issue yourself or give the consumer the contact information for someone who can. If you don’t hear back for a while, follow up.

Sometimes, the feedback is not someone looking for a remedy. Internet trolls can affect anyone. If you come across someone like this, be polite, correct any lies about your company and still invite them to private message you. Remember that you’re responding for others to see.

While negative feedback can feel like a punch in the gut, you can turn it into an opportunity. Great responses and excellent customer service can help.

Looking for an easy solution to responding to customer reviews? The ConsumerAffairs Brands App can help make responding to customer reviews easy and seamless. Schedule a free demo to get started.