B2B businesses nowadays are constantly evolving. They keep on upgrading their products & services, customer service & invest in discovering new methodologies to improve the experiences of their potential & existing customers.

In a fiercely competitive marketplace, the survival of the fittest is the norm of the day. So, while no business is perfect, all of them are striven towards excellence to please their customers & optimize their revenue by converting a larger number of potential customers to sales.

Not all customers are happy customers and it is virtually impossible to please everyone while most of the B2B companies remain in the constant stage of transition.

Moreover, the way the companies fix the problems faced by its customers defines their credibility, not the fact that they have negative reviews.

How Negative Reviews Work in Favor of B2B Marketers

  • 72% of B2B buyers state that negative reviews give them insights about a product (Source: G2 Crowd & Heinz Marketing, 2017)
  • 40% of the B2B buyers agree that negative reviews help in shaping the credibility of a product (Source: G2 Crowd & Heinz Marketing, 2017)
  • 82% of the shoppers specifically look for the negative reviews (Source: Power Reviews, 2017)
  • Customers who interact with negative reviews take 4 times as much time than those interacting with just the positive reviews & generate 67% more conversions (Source: Spiegel Research Centre, 2017)
  • 92% of the customers actually face difficulty deciding about the purchase of an item with no negative reviews (Source: Fan & Fuel, 2016)
  • Absence of negative reviews makes 95% of customers suspicious and makes them believe that the reviews about the company are fake (Source: Revoo, 2013)
  • Astonishingly, the likelihood of making a purchase or availing a service is at the peak between the average star rating of 4.0 – 4.7 & then starts decreasing as the rating approaches 5.0 (Source: Spiegel Research Centre, 2017)

How to Respond To Negative Reviews

84% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

(Source: Bright Local, 2017).

B2B marketers should be very careful & sensitive about the negative customer reviews that come along their way because not only can it give them the opportunity to show their empathy about the customers by taking quick steps towards customers’ grievances but might also give them some much required critical feedback to improve their product or service to win over the loyalty of the customers & dominate the marketplace.

Following are some of the ways to respond to negative reviews:

1. Be Quick when Responding to Negative Reviews:

53% of customers expect the companies to reply to their online reviews within 7 days (Source: Review Trackers, 2018). However, when it comes to negative reviews the marketers need to have a quicker response rate.

Depending upon where the negative reviews have been published, the reaction time can vary. For Twitter, the ideal reply time should not be later than a few hours & for Google, it can be a few days.

Responding to negative reviews on time & in an appropriate way gives the impression that the company isn’t shying away & is taking accountability. They are holding themselves responsible for whatever bad experience the customers had & are ready to restore the damage done as far as practicable or to at least provide information that might help.

Having an empathetic customer service team for quickly addressing customer grievances always helps.

2. Make an Apology & Express Empathy:

An adage states that in order to maintain any relationship one needs to be understanding & not essentially correct every time. The same principle applies to the relationship between a customer & a marketer in the B2B domain. The marketers shouldn’t be so busy trying to be understood that they forget to be understanding.

Acknowledging the mistake helps in the initial stage, even if the mistake isn’t of the firm. Paraphrase the query of the customers so that they feel understood & cared out. Give them instant solutions as far as possible or give them the details of the customer service department such as email addresses & phone numbers or any other department that might help.

3. Offer some form of Compensation:

Even negative customers can be converted to return customers if they are offered some special offers, post resolving their grievance.  This can be done by offering discounts or free products or services (at least trails), discounted shipping, and a chance to speak to management, if required (to register the feedbacks to make the company better).  

Offering special discounts & showing empathy might convert negative reviews to a positive one. However, the marketers should be careful that they don’t go out of their way to please the customers.

4. Never get Aggravated or Reply in a Confrontational Manner:

According to Damien Buxton, Director at Midas Creative, regardless of how bad or untrue a review might be, responding in an aggressive manner may prove to be detrimental to the reputation of a company.

The problem of the customer should be paraphrased & resolved publicly as far as possible. The customer can always be given an additional resource for help such as an email id or a phone number.

A bad review is not only an opportunity to show the customer & the marketing community that you care, but is also a great opportunity to showcase your soft-skills.

5. Try to Convert Negative Reviews into Positive ones:  

Once a negative review has been published & adequate measures have been taken to resolve them, a customer might be encouraged to leave a positive review.  The customers can even be asked to update the negative reviews to a positive one.

6. Encourage Positive Reviews:

Some review based websites like Yelp & TripAdvisor have star-based ratings which operate on the basis of the law of averages. Encourage customers to leave more positive reviews on these platforms to do away with the impact of the negative ones.

Incentivizing customers by offering them gift cards, free products, discount offers or even featuring them on the website, might encourage the customers to leave a positive review.

7. Don’t Ignore or Delete the Comment:

Ignoring the negative comments or deleting them must be avoided at all costs.

According to Lauren Crain, Digital Marketer at Health Labs, this is a very derogatory practice & the customer can always retaliate using a screenshot of his published review, with comments like, “They deleted my negative review!”

Conclusion:

A negative review isn’t such a bad thing & needs to be seen as “scopes or opportunities of improvement” by the marketers.

According to Brad Plothow, VP of Brand Communications at Womply the negative reviews need to be sensitively tackled with. The unhappy customer needs personalized experience too. The organizations must:

  • Carefully listen to the unhappy customers
  • Apologize to them
  • Show their empathy after properly understanding & paraphrasing their situations on public platforms
  • Must resolve or try their best to resolve the problem.

Looking beyond the words & addressing the core problem authentically & politely can resolve customer grievances. Marketers need to be thankful for the genuine negative reviews as these provide them a chance to improve & don’t allow them to be complacent.

We, at Valasys Media, have been helping our B2B customers with services based on leveraging predictive intelligence in real time to boost ROI.

We, at Valasys Media, know that maintaining a good online reputation is critical for B2B marketers. Our services are designed to live up to customer expectations & improve their experiences so as to optimize the conversion rates for our B2B clients.

For more information on how to tackle negative customer reviews or to know about our services contact us.

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