How should businesses handle negative reviews?
Today's post is a departure for Kev's Snack Reviews...I was recently asked my thoughts on what companies should do when faced with negative online reviews of their products. Reviews can really affect a brands reputation, as word spreads faster than ever nowadays thanks to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook - a bad review has a big impact especially if a company is new to the market.
In my opinion, honesty is always the best policy and if a product has issues then the business and the consumer needs to understand why. We all have biased opinions to some degree and some only "see what they want to see", whether it be consumer or producer. So it's good to be aware of this if you're a company faced with bad reviews. You might be blinkered about how good you perceive your product, just as a reviewer might be about how bad it is.
How should companies deal with us bloggers' opinions, varied as they are? Well for a start it's always nice to be given an opportunity to re-evaluate our opinions; if a company has altered their product after consumer feedback, give us a chance to try it again. Work with bloggers to find out consumer opinions, perhaps even sponsor giveaways in exchange for further feedback. If your product ends up different based on this feedback then say so - it will make consumers feel listened to.
Offer a wide array of bloggers the chance to review your product...you're likely to get varying views and insight into it. This is invaluable, after all how can you know what real people think of it? Observe comments left on blog posts, this is yet more invaluable feedback.
If you get several bad reviews - chances are your product needs to be changed or it's not as good as predicted to begin with. If you're confident in your product then select several reviewers that fit its niche the best.
Incentives help. Work with bloggers to provide incentives in exchange for a fair review. Free products and samples of future products are good ones. Give shout outs to the reviews on your social media channels and mutually help each other out.
Whatever you do - don't go arguing with the reviewers after they've posted their review! I've seen this happen and it leaves a sour taste. My snacks pal Reaching for Refreshment and her dealings with Spanish Mint Company Mentas Boggle are a case in point. I do think it's okay to disagree with a review, but have a think about what you disagree with objectively, whilst bearing in mind everyone's right to an opinion, whether it be right or wrong. Make a list of the objective aspects of your product and point out things they didn't consider in their review. But don't behave angry or sarcastic, it just doesn't look very professional and anyone reading it will be turned off your company.
If the unthinkable happens and you end up with bad reviews...think about how to reach out and make things better. Take it as an opportunity to learn what went wrong - is it simply one persons opinion or is your product genuinely at fault? Can you offer another, better quality or different product to them for re-evaluation? This can help soften the blow of a bad review. Maybe you can even create your own blog post, offering an alternative opinion on your product. If the situation ever becomes more than you're able to handle, remember that professional crisis management services can help you get back on the right track.
I recently reviewed the new White Skittles and remarked what a strange idea they are. I've seen a variety of opinions about them on social media, some similar to mine and some different. This was reflected in comments left under my review, and I think this is a very good thing - open discussions get a better idea of a general consensus of how something has been received.
Well, I feel I have said all I can about this subject for now. Over the years I've been offered various products to review and I always do my best to be fair and consider where the company is coming from with their product - are they aimed at a particular dietary need, such as vegan, paleo etc? If they are new, niche or specialist I always factor this into my review where possible, but if I still don't like the product I will say so. Even then I will try to evaluate how the product might be received by someone else with different tastes to my own. Which is difficult to do but seems only fair.
I do hope this post has been helpful for anyone looking for insight on this subject! If you have any thoughts please do leave them in the comments below.