An article on the BBC website last week discussed the growing problem of unfair one-star reviews on Amazon, with some sellers claiming that their business has been sabotaged by rivals.
One-star reviews are a real blemish on your business, and it doesn’t take too many of them to bring your average rating right down. This is the case not just on Amazon, but on Facebook, Google and dedicated review sites like Trustpilot and TripAdvisor too. One Amazon seller told the BBC that even 20 five-star ratings wouldn’t compensate for a single one-star review, while another said that an average rating below 4.5 on the e-retail site means you’re “kind of done”.
Prevention is better than cure
Of course, the best way to tackle one-star reviews is not to get them in the first place. That obviously means offering great products and services, but there are also other actions you can take to keep feedback positive.
Always encourage customers and clients to leave a review, but stress to them that if they are not completely satisfied, they should contact you first. Often, the stain of a one- or two-star review can be avoided by clearing up what was just a simple misunderstanding.
Even the best businesses get poor reviews sometimes, so let’s say you’re being as proactive as possible, and someone has still left a stinker of a review. What should you do?
Is it fair?
The first thing to consider is whether the unhappy reviewer has a point or not. Are they being unreasonable, or worse still, trying to manipulate your ratings?
On most review sites, it is possible to ask the site to remove a poor review if you think it’s unfair. One of the most common reasons Amazon reviews are wiped is because of complaints about delivery, which may not be the seller’s fault. On Facebook, it’s possible to report a review by clicking the three dots in the top corner of the post – not that we want to do that with any of our ace reviews!
If the reviewer does have a point, or even a partial point, you should address it publicly. It may not get rid of the ugly review, but it will at least show that you take complaints seriously and want to resolve them.
Apologise to the customer if necessary, and perhaps suggest they get in touch with you via private message to avoid escalating the situation into a public argument. You might wish to offer the customer a money-off deal or other sweetener in the hope that they will give you another chance.
Now, this should generally be avoided, but there are examples of when a company has chosen to put a complainant in their place, and received national exposure as a result.
Last week, a chef from the Sticky Walnut in Chester took exception to a scathing review from a customer he describes as “agitated” and “rude”. The exchange was picked up on locally by CheshireLive, but also by national newspapers The Mirror and The Daily Mail, and even News.com.au in Australia.
It is a risky approach though, and one that even the fieriest of business owners shouldn’t make a habit of. If employed at all, it should be saved for the most objectionable and out-of-order customers.
An excellent online and social media presence is key to avoiding and managing disappointing reviews. For guidance on both, speak to us at Engage Web.