Carrie Hill of Blizzard Internet Marketing recently wrote a great post highlighting some Do's and Don'ts for responding to negative reviews online. Among other great tips, she encourages managers to acknowledge the problem or issue presented in the review and publicly respond, thus allowing future customers to see your proactive approach. (Read Carrie's post in full here)
Andy Beal wrote a post on Marketing Pilgrim back in November of 2007 which described "Five Ways Negative Reviews help your Online Reputation".
From Andy's post:
Here's how you can benefit from negative reviews:
- Your need to know. If your products or services are crap, then you need to know about it. It's better to hear it from your customers-so you can fix it-than never know about it and wonder why your sales suck.
- Build credibility. As Goodman points out, negative reviews add authenticity to your reputation. Consumers are smart-mostly-and they know that if you have 1000 customers, a few will be upset over something. Take a look at the hotel industry. Just about every hotel has a review that mentions dirty sheets, cockroaches, or rude staff. Yet we still stay in hotels. We just look for the ones that have the best overall reviews.
- Fix the problem. Research suggests that a customer will tell ten people about a negative experience with a business. However, if you fix the problem to their satisfaction, they'll tell twenty people how happy they are! Look for negative reviews and fix the problem!
- Show you care. Potential customers look at how you handled the situation. If you do find yourself with a negative review or critique, rectifying the situation publicly will demonstrate to potential customers that you care about your reputation-and your customers.
- Learn from competitors' mistakes. Don't just read your negative reviews, read those of your competitors. If you learn where your rivals keep slipping-up, you can fine-tune your offering to make sure you don't make the same mistake. Better still, how about reaching out to an unhappy customer of one of your competitors and fixing their problem-you could win a new customer for life!
For vacation rental mangers, collecting verified guest reviews is an excellent first step, but more may be needed to solidify your company's online reputation. The guest reviews you collect must be managed. Whether it be thanking a consumer for a great review or addressing a consumer who had a bad experience, the review and your response together will create an image of your company and the homes you represent to future consumers. Negative reviews should be seen as an opportunity rather than a nuisance. Companies that embrace this philosophy will instill confidence in potential guests. This confidence will lead to increased conversion rates, higher occupancy and the ability to charge higher nightly rates.