17 Apr How to Handle Negative Online Reviews
Many of our clients are fearful of social media for the main reason that they don’t want people to post anything bad about their business online. The answer, of course, is that people are talking about your business anyway (via Google reviews, Yahoo, Angie’s List, Yelp, or any other pertinent site to your company), so why not have the crux of your comments facilitated in one place, where you have some control over the direction of the conversation?
Removing negative comments is rarely the answer. Here are some suggestions to instead influence your customers and clients when a less than stellar review is posted.
Most Important – Join the Conversation
The first thing you should do is respond – in a timely manner – to each of the reviews publicly, addressing the issues while maintaining a professional tone. If you know the complaint is not essentially valid, respond saying you are sorry for their experience and will immediately look into it for them. Believe it or not, people want to be heard even more than they want their issue resolved. You’re already ahead of the game if you can publicly show them that you’re willing to hear their concern or issue. This is also where you can tell your side of the story, as long as you focus on the solution and stay professional at all costs!
Online reviews are not set in stone and often will be updated (and upgraded) by a customer who was given the dignity of a reply and an apology.
Ask Your Satisfied Clients for Positive Reviews
There is no shame in asking for testimonials – most people are more than happy to talk about their positive experiences on Facebook, Kudzu, Google and more. You are not bribing or soliciting positive feedback – you are honestly and genuinely asking your audience to share their experiences online.
Every website should have a section for “What People Are Saying”… just make sure you ask the party prior to posting their words. Make sure they tell you how they would like to be credited (initials only or full name, etc.) and if they would like to leave a link to their website at the bottom.
Have a plan
With online review sites providing a today’s of word-of-mouth marketing, reviews are essential but can be either helpful or damaging to a business.
The reality is, you can do everything right and yet still receive a negative review. It all depends on the customer’s expectations; they are either met or they’re not.
Following up by phone after the completion of a service can help head off unflattering reviews and provide an opportunity to satisfy frustrated clients before their feedback goes public.
Now it’s your turn: how do you handle negative comments on Social Media and popular review sites?