Imagine spending months trying to do product research, plenty of hours a day to answer customer queries, and a lot of your free time trying to look for new products in the market- only to get negative customer reviews.
Most newbie sellers would find this as a viable point of hitting rock bottom.
But take it from the seasoned store owners: Your print-on-demand store can make the most out of your customer’s negative reviews.
The most important thing is how you are able to deal with these negative reviews and turn them to your own advantage.
Why are product reviews important?
But first of all, it’s important to understand the basics of product reviews.
Why are they important for your store?
Think of yourself as an online shopper.
You search through different stores online to look for the best leather jacket that you can give yourself- just in time for your birthday.
As you hover around for a while, you’ve found an online shop that sells exactly the products that you’ve imagined in your mind.
Their website looks trustworthy. The products look so sleek and posh. But you still feel a little bit hesitant. It’s an online store.
How do you know that it’s the perfect fit for you? How do you know if the quality is excellent? How do you know if the leather is genuine?
The thing with shopping online is that it is obviously a lot riskier than shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.
When you go to a physical store to shop for a jacket, you can feel the texture of the leather, you can feel the weight that it carries as you wear it over your arms, and you can identify the quality of the product.
When it comes to online stores, however, your best bet is to trust that the photos, videos, descriptions, and tags are exactly the same (or close enough) to the product itself.
This is where product reviews come into play.
Going back to the online shopping scene a while ago, you try to scroll down into the product reviews section to see what other people think of the products.
Some say it was a great buy.
Others say the fit was great. As you dig deeper, you’ve found comments that say the leather jacket even did well with frequent washes.
Many users have attested that the leather was indeed authentic.
The reviews convinced you that the product is worth the pay so you proceeded to make your ultimate birthday purchase.
Recent studies show that about 91% of customers check product reviews before deciding to make a purchase.
This means that the scene above is likely true for the majority of online buyers.
Product reviews are important user-generated proofs that your products are worth the purchase.
They give potential buyers a concrete idea of what it’s like to purchase your products.
They build credibility for your brand in terms of what you promise and what you deliver.
Moreover, your reviews will give potential buyers an idea of what they should expect from you- from shipping to delivery to the product experience.
In a way, reviews give people an assurance that your products are truly how you describe them to be.
What about negative customer reviews? Are they necessary?
Now let’s move on to negative reviews.
Are they important?
Why can’t we just delete them?
Negative customer reviews are inevitable. No matter how long the store has already been in the market, mistakes happen from time to time.
Whether that be a failure in logistics or a misunderstanding with your customer and your customer support assistant or a simple mistake- it happens.
It can happen to anyone.
Negative reviews don’t mean your store is a bad choice overall.
It just means you’re not invincible.
But here’s the thing: you can make the most out of these negative reviews by using them to your own advantage.
How to Deal with Negative Reviews 101
Part of the job in running your own store is to have restraint in dealing with difficult customers.
Knee-jerk reactions to negative reviews may be gratifying to your ego but it does not serve a business well and it’s hard to come back from.
Keep calm and do these instead.
- Respond promptly
The worst thing you can do to an already disgruntled customer is to make them wait too long for a response- or worst, to ignore them.
They already feel inconvenienced with their concern, no matter what they are.
So when you see a negative review, it’s best to act fast and respond promptly to their concerns.
- Learn to Apologize
A simple “sorry” or “we apologize” can go a long way.
It’s true that not all negative reviews are your fault. Some faults are at the customer’s end, and others are just an act of fate.
However, you as the store owner owe your customers the best experience that they can get from choosing to patronize your products.
This means that you want to make sure they are treated well before, during, and after the purchase.
A simple apology statement to start your response is a great way to calm them down a little bit.
- Use the opportunity to show a good attitude
Bad reviews are a great way to showcase your brand’s attitude even in the worst-case scenario.
How do you respond to backlash?
How do you treat a customer who thinks your products are not worth the price?
The key here is to show empathy towards your customers.
Put yourself in their shoes. If you didn’t get the product or service that you hoped for, you would also get disappointed.
Remember that the spotlight is on you.
While negative reviews can impact your brand’s reputation, you can make the most out of the opportunity by showing accountability.
Grab it as a chance to improve your image.
By showing exceptional customer service to your customers, you can steer clear of any doubts that you may be a terrible brand overall.
Even if the client is wrong, it’s best to remain calm and professional.
Nothing’s more disgraceful than a reviews section where the store and the customer arguing like children.
Remember to stay posed and think about your reputation with every word that you say.
If you take full responsibility for negative reviews and avoid deleting anything, your customers will sense the authenticity of your brand.
This will give them the idea that you aren’t hiding anything, nor are you planning on hiding from any responsibility.
- Make up for your mistakes
When the mistake is on you, make sure that you make up for it.
This may mean an additional expense on your part, but take it as it is.
A learning experience is a necessary expense for your business’ growth.
So if you made the mistake of sending the wrong size or color, make up for it by arranging a smooth return transaction.
If the customer has been offended by your customer service assistant, try to offer a small peace offering by giving discounts, gift coupons, etc.
Making up for your mistakes may just be a little thing, but it can go a long way for your brand reputation.
It’s also very much likely that you can gain the trust of your customer back.
As a result, they would want to purchase your products again if they have been satisfied.
- Learn from the experience
Last but not the least, it’s important to learn from your experience.
Negative reviews can show you areas that you need to improve on.
You may find that you need improvements in your logistics, shipping, customer service, website, or product description because of bad reviews.
You will find areas that you can work on if you remain open to constructive criticisms.
An external view of your products and your brand is a better outlook than your view of your own company.
After all, your customers are the ones interacting with your brand and purchasing your products.
If anything, your customers are in the best position to criticize your product.
Your role is to make sure you use this to your own advantage by making sure it doesn’t happen again.
In fact, one of the best ways to maintain customer loyalty is to regularly ask for feedback from your customers.
You can do this in the form of feedback forms that you can give after every purchase.
By doing this, you can measure the level of satisfaction that your customers get from interacting with your products.
These tools can provide numerical data on areas that you can improve on.
Regularly asking for feedback can also prevent mistakes from happening over and over again.
Let’s wrap it up
The saying “too good to be true’’ is relevant even in e-commerce.
There is no perfect store and there is no perfect brand.
In addition, everyone has a different perspective on everything.
This means that you can not please everyone even with online selling.
Negative reviews are an inevitable aspect of business, whether they are real reviews or spam reviews.
The most important thing is to make sure you make the most out of these reviews by showing a good attitude, redeeming your brand image, showing authenticity, and building back your customer’s trust.
Once you understand the importance of keeping things real with your brand, people will choose to patronize you eventually.