Have you ever gotten a bad or a less than perfect review? 

We often talk about the benefits of a great review, but do you know the cost of a bad one? 

It might surprise you to learn that 86% of consumers will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative reviews.

But how many bad reviews can you afford to have? 

A study conducted estimated two out of every ten customers are driven away by just one negative review. If you have three negative reviews it may drive away as much as 60% of your customers; four or more, and it climbs to 70%. 

Imagine you have one bad review, and 200 people saw the bad review, then you would lose 40 potential new customers. Let’s assume your average sale was $80 (i.e. two people dining at a restaurant) or as high as $1000 (a professional services supplier, like a lawyer). You can quickly calculate that ONE BAD REVIEW could be costing you $3200 to $40,000 annually.

In today’s digital world where bad reviews are there forever, we no longer have the luxury of being dismissive of negative reviews. If the above example is anything to go by, multiply the annual cost by the number of years you intend to be in business. The magnitude of the figure is enough to keep anyone up at night. 

How far will you go to defend your reputation? 

When you get a negative review, what is the first thing you do? For some business owners, it may be to respond from a place of emotion or justification. Responding in the heat of the moment is seldom a great idea. 

Instead, take a moment to pause and reflect on the cost of a bad review. Then approach it from the perspective of protecting your future reputation. What would you do to make sure that the bad Google review went away, or even better was changed into a positive review?

Tips for converting a 1 Star Review Into a 5 Star. 

  1. Approach the review from a position of empathy and understanding.
  2. Offer the opportunity to connect offline with your personal email or contact details.
  3. Offer ways to remedy the situation that leaves the client in a better position. 

The third tip is the one least often used, but it is the most powerful. Using the example above, offering your client a remedy that costs you $100 or even $500 is cheap by comparison to what it could be potentially costing you. 

What are some ideas for a remedy?

If you own a restaurant, you might offer the patron, the option of coming back to dine, on the house. Or perhaps a nice bottle of wine when they come back. A professional service might offer to rework the job until it is at the standard the client was expecting. 

But why don’t business owners do it? 

Perhaps it is the fear of a client taking advantage of the situation. In my experience, the fear of clients actually doing this is greater than the reality. The research shows that only 40% will consider leaving a review for a negative experience. This means that if you receive a negative review, the client will often have an emotive reason for doing it.

What it does do, is send a message to anyone reading your response to the review, that you care so much about your clients that you will go to any lengths to make sure they are completely satisfied. 

Remember while you are writing in response to the review initially, you are also writing for everyone that will read the response to your review. Brightlocal even found that 52% said they would use a business if a merchant responded to only negative reviews, meaning that it is very important that, at a minimum, negative reviews are responded to.

Having good reviews are great, but not if they come at the expense of a few bad reviews. It can sometimes take as many as 12 good reviews to outweigh just one negative review. So ensure that you are constantly reviewing your customer experience to make sure that it is not inadvertently causing your clients to be disappointed with your service or experience.