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Texans are not afraid to speak up when their experience at a business is not up to par.
A RealBusinessSavings.com survey found Texans are more likely to leave negative online reviews about a business than the average American.
Overall the national average of people who would leave a negative review for a poor product or sub-par service is 31 percent versus 36 percent in Texas.
The survey found Floridians were the most likely to leave a negative review with 42 percent and Delaware residents were the least likely at just 15 percent.
On the business owners’ end, about one in four businesses believe their rivals may be posting “fake” reviews about them to make them look bad.
The business owners, however, could do a better job at handling customer reviews, with only one in four responding to online reviews at sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp.
The rise in the availability and simplicity of leaving online reviews can be great when the feedback is positive, but especially damaging when the feedback is negative.
A negative review of a business can be online and available for thousands of people to see, possibly before the business has a chance to respond or remedy the situation.
There is also the risk of negative reviews from rival businesses or just plain unpleasant people who may not even have been to the business.
How and when business owners react to such comments can make all the difference in continuing positive public relations.
Just over half of Texas business owners said they would be willing to fight to defend the reputation of their product or services. About 22 percent of the state’s business owners said they would be prepared to sue for defamation if the negative review was inaccurate and damaged their business.
However, 93 percent of business owners said they would not engage in an online battle over a negative review.
About 23 percent of business owners said they fear a negative review. Only about 37 percent said they would ignore such a review with most owners saying they would thoroughly investigate the situation that led to the complaint and they would attempt to fix the situation if possible.
You can never make everybody happy, and 21 percent of business owners said they do not take negative reviews personally.
Perhaps sometimes the customer is not always right, and only 15 percent of business owners said they have apologized after a negative review when the situation was not their fault.
“Interacting with your customers online will help your business achieve a greater online presence, especially in a time where we are so reliant on online reviews to determine where we spend our hard-earned cash,’ says Mark Hallam for RealBusinessSavings.com. “As a consumer, however, it’s only fair to ensure your reviews and ratings are factual and beneficial to other customers in a way that does not defame the business or service.”
RealBusinessSavings.com offers five tips on how businesses can deal with negative reviews:
First of all, it is always better to respond and as quickly as you. Keep a cool head and apologize where necessary and/or offer some form of compensation if possible. Customers need to know they are being listened to and potential future customers will want to see that feedback is being taken on board.
Don’t take it personally! Try to look at the feedback with a rational head and admit when something was wrong. On the other hand, it is also fine to politely explain if you feel that the complaint is unfounded.
Look for patterns in the feedback
Don’t overthink every bit of negative feedback you get. Try to take a step back and look at any common themes in feedback you get and take action on this. If you react negatively to every piece of feedback, it can be detrimental to your business.
If a negative review has led to you taking action to resolve the problem or improve your service then go back and let the customer know. You want to make it clear you listen and take action where necessary.
Ask for a Second Chance
Don’t be afraid to go back to the customer and ask for another chance. If you have invited them back to try your service or product again, or fixed the issue they were complaining about, ask them if they can change their review.
The RealBusinessSavings.com conducted the survey of 5,500 individuals along with input from business owners.
An infographic of the survey results can be found at https://www.realbusinesssavings.com/2020/10/08/constructive-criticism/.
Claire Kowalick, a senior journalist for the Times Record News, covers local government, military and MSU Texas. If you have a news tip, contact Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org.