Handling the Power Shift
In many ways, the Internet has been an equalizer for businesses. It has allowed one person’s voice to be heard and shared around the world. If you stay at a hotel and your bed has bedbugs, you can publish a bad review on TripAdvisor in 10 minutes. On the positive side, immediate feedback helps keep companies honest, encouraging them to provide efficient and quality services.
For those companies without deep marketing pockets, they can gain a loyal following. But there is a flipside. An isolated incident can be blown out of proportion and spiral into permanent damage to your business’ reputation. Every time you log in to your Yelp account you see negative review staring back at you. Your business has moved on, and you’ve fixed the issue. But how do you handle damage control?
What to Do With Negative Reviews
- Keep perspective. One bad review isn’t the end of the world. If most of your reviews are good, one bad one isn’t worth losing sleep over. However, if you have lots of recent poor reviews, while all your good reviews are from a further back, maybe there’s an ongoing issue you need to address.
- Handling the response. If the review has your temper flaring, then take your time before posting a response. What’s worse than a bad online review? Having an online argument with a customer in public. If you see a bad review take some time to think about it. When handled right, that one bad review will soon be eclipsed by your stellar ones. Whether it’s a bad review or a compliment, always respond. It shows you care about the business and about your customers.
- Investigate the problem. Don’t just dismiss a bad review as a one-off. If someone felt strongly enough about something to go online and write about it there was a reason. Make sure you find out what happened and try and resolve the situation. If you can’t fix it for that customer maybe you can for others in the future. If possible, try to speak to the customer privately and then consider replying in public. What you say will be seen by many future customers. Having a “he said/ she said” argument won’t reflect well on you, even if you were right.
- Keep your response brief. It’s best to keep your response short and sweet. Most online users don’t want to read a 3-page explanation of why the chicken was slightly undercooked. Just apologize, and offer to speak to the reviewer offline and try and resolve the situation.
- Consider hiring someone else to do it. Negative reviews can feel very personal. If someone attacks your business it’s like they’re attacking you. If you have someone else monitor your social media and various review accounts, they can help to act as a filter. Responding with the right message can resolve a situation before it gets out of hand. If you’re too busy running the business and don’t have time to actively monitor your account, reviews — both positive and negative — can sit unanswered for weeks on end which is also a poor reflection on you.
Dealing with negative reviews is very important if you want to have a healthy online profile. Ignoring them, or responding with your own negativity, sends the wrong message to future customers.
Have you had a problem with negative reviews in the past? What did you do to solve the issue?
How can we help?
What does your social media and reviews say about your business? What does your social media stats say in Search Console?
We are Spectrum Group Online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.