Voicing one’s opinion online can become a bloodsport from time to time and nowhere is this truer than in the world of online reviews. Opinions matter, at the very least insofar as they affect your business, and making sure you manage your online reputation is more important than in the past.
Negative reviews are going to appear. You can’t please all the people all of the time. What’s key however is making sure that they do not influence much of your audience, and that your brand is seen as one that cares and addresses problems that surface, not contests, refutes or hides from them.
Here are three steps to proactively cope with the occasional negative review.
- Customer service ought to be a high priority - Many times the reason companies are dealing with a particularly nasty online review is they failed to attend to business when the problem first appeared. Oftentimes the customer attempted to reach out, but got no response, and felt as though they had no option but to air their frustrations online at a review site. A great deal of this can be avoided by taking a proactive approach with respect to monitoring your onsite and social media channels, so you’ll be aware when a problem arises.
- Be professional at all times - The very last thing you should do is get in to an online shouting match with a client. This will never work out well for you, ever! Even if you’re right, you’re completely wrong to engage in this manner, as it will scale this issue to heights you wouldn’t think possible. Strive to remain professional, generous, and aim to keep that customer, or at least ensure you don’t lose more of them! Since this type of customer usually represents about 1% of your customer base, it’s just not worth it.
- Foster positive reviews - A proven way you can proactively help your online reputation is soliciting positive reviews of your products or services form your satisfied customers. The majority are glad to help you, and if these appear regularly, the likelyhood that the occasional negative review will stand much of a chance of remaining high in the search results are small. Consider it as not just as managing your online reputation, but as another way of promoting your business, for free!
The the main thing in dealing with negative reviews is to be alert when they happen, handle customers with respect and professionalism, and make maintaining your online reputation a high priority! In this time of instant communication, you virtually have no choice!
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