Managing E-Commerce Store Reviews and Feedback: Turning Negative Experiences into Positive Outcomes
In the world of business, the Internet is seen as a great equalizer that levels out the playing field, allowing startups and small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to thrive alongside their bigger, more established competitors. That being said, new players still have to overcome the lack of reviews, testimonials, and other measures of social proof on their products or services.
Customer reviews and testimonies hold immense sway in e-commerce. For a startup or SME, reviews can make or break your business’s reputation. In a 2015 survey conducted in China and carried out by Zhong-Gang et al., it was revealed that 93% of those surveyed relied heavily on online reviews to make an informed decision about buying products online. In fact, in both B2C and B2B platforms, 82% of consumers read reviews before making their purchases. This goes to show how important reviews and feedback are to your business.
So, what should you do if you encounter negative reviews from your customers? First, remember that there are different types of negative reviews. Assess if it’s a valid review or a fraudulent one from either an unscrupulous competitor or a troll who has too much time on their hands. Your approach may have to be different, depending on what type of negative feedback you receive. In general, however, you can abide by the following guide:
1. Remain Calm
Negative reviews can be emotionally challenging and draining, especially for small business owners who pour their hearts and souls into their ventures. However, it’s vital to remain calm and composed when responding. After all, responding with anger or defensiveness will only escalate the situation. What you need to do is to take a deep breath and step back. Only after you achieve a clear and level head should you finally respond.
2. Express Your Appreciation
Whether your customer left a positive or negative review, the first thing you need to do is to thank the reviewer for reaching out. Every legitimate review represents a customer who has taken the time to engage with your business. Therefore, acknowledge their efforts with a simple “Thank you for your review” to set a positive tone for the conversation. Moreover, this will show that you value people’s feedback, which is the foundation of excellent customer service.
3. Consider the Feedback Carefully
Before crafting a response, read the negative review carefully. Pay attention to the customer’s specific concerns and the context surrounding their experience. Did they, for example, have problems with your website’s limited options for payment? If so, then consider adopting a payment gateway that will allow you to accept a range of payment options in the future. Businesses in the Philippines can use Maya Checkout, an online payment solution from Maya Business that will allow them to accept payments via credit and debit cards, QR codes, and e-wallets. E-commerce businesses can quickly add this payment gateway with custom WooCommerce and Shopify payment gateway plugins.
In many cases, negative reviews contain valuable insights into areas of improvement for your business. These are valid and valuable reviews that deserve to be acknowledged and addressed promptly.
4. Ask Questions
To gain a deeper understanding of the problem, don’t hesitate to ask relevant questions. Indeed, polite and open-ended questions can encourage customers to share more details about their experience. For example, you can ask, “Could you please provide more information about the issue you encountered?” This approach shows that you’re genuinely interested in addressing their concerns.
5. Be Empathetic
Empathy is a powerful tool for turning negatives into positives. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try to understand their perspective. Furthermore, use empathetic language in your responses to show that you care about their feelings. Convey empathy effectively with phrases like, “I can imagine how frustrating that must have been” or “I’m sorry to hear about your experience.”
6. Apologize and Acknowledge
When a negative experience is due to a mistake on your end, make it a point to issue a sincere apology. Moreover, take responsibility for any shortcomings and acknowledge the customer’s feelings. Remember that a genuine apology can go a long way in diffusing tension and demonstrating your commitment to making things right.
7. Offer a Solution
The heart of effective review management lies in providing solutions. Tailor your response to the specific issue mentioned in the review and offer a practical solution. For instance, if the issue requires a refund, see what can be done so that the customer can get their money back quickly and you can get back your item in an unspoiled condition.
If the customer requests a replacement that requires additional payment, you should know that Maya Business also offers the Payment Links solution, which will allow you to send a payment link to customers via several popular messaging apps. Through this URL, customers will be directed to a payment module that can accept credit and debit cards, QR codes, and e-wallet payments, just like a typical payment gateway form.
No matter the issue, what’s important is that you address the customer’s concerns effectively using tools and solutions at your disposal.
Coming up with a resolution doesn’t mark the end of the customer feedback mechanism. Instead, it’s an opportunity to strengthen it. After providing a solution, follow up with the customer to ensure they are satisfied with the outcome. This post-resolution communication not only demonstrates your commitment to their satisfaction but also helps in maintaining long-term customer relationships.
It takes a lot of skill to manage online customer reviews. Hopefully, the abovementioned strategies will give you some direction on how to turn negative feedback into positive customer experiences. Remember, negative reviews are not the end of the world for your business. Instead, you should see them as opportunities for growth and improvement. With every negative review, you should show your passion for providing customer satisfaction. In doing so, your business can achieve a stellar reputation, making it stand out from the competition.
Monica Mendoza is a content writer and marketing professional. She spends a lot of time studying how technology continues to transform lifestyles and communities. Outside the office, she keeps herself busy by staying up-to-date with the latest fashion trends and reading about the newest gadgets out on the market.
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