Not all social comments and posts are positive and can, at times, negatively affect the view of a business. What are the best practices for handling a bad review or negative comment on your business to keep it from impacting business?
People often rely on referrals and the opinions of others when making partnership and/or purchase decisions. From a customer’s mindset, negative reviews have the potential to impact business and can push your listing down on review sites, making your company harder to find.
While no one wants to receive negative reviews, they do happen. However, a bad review doesn’t mean you failed. It can serve as a way to present a solution to a problem, it’s a chance to convert a customer who otherwise would have simply left your brand, and it gives you a process to follow if/when something like this arises again in the future.
Still, a ton of negative reviews or comments about your business will most likely create issues. Here are a few tips to handle that negativity online.
- Record the review and respond quickly. A prompt response to a negative review shows that your company is dedicated to customer service and that you value feedback. A quick response will also likely result in the one-time negative reviewer giving your business a second chance.
- Request that malicious, offensive reviews be removed. While you cannot delete a review, and we would not recommend doing so for authenticity purposes, most review sites have a system that allows you to submit it for deletion if it contains abusive or threatening language. Find out what the review policy is on probable review sites for your business, and use the information to your advantage.
- Take the issue offline when possible. Say a review was posted by a disgruntled customer or employee for whom you have contact information. Rather trying to offer an immediate solution, respond on the forum to state that you will reach out shortly/directly. That way, others reading the review know that you’re working on a resolution. Then, consider reaching out privately via phone or email to address the matter. If the situation is resolved, kindly ask the person to remove the negative review or comment. If that doesn’t work, post a brief response to thank them for the comment and note that the situation has been resolved.
- Learn how review websites work. Every review and social media site has its own way of ranking and filtering, as well as accommodating brand requests. As mentioned above with regard to defamatory reviews, develop an understanding of the platform your business might be reviewed on, and be sure to share information with your team.
- Keep an eye on your reputation. Set up Google Alerts or use a tool like Social Mention for monitoring your online presence. Social media management tools such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social also have integrated monitoring capabilities, which can help you stay on top of what customers are saying in real-time.
- Encourage reviews. Include links to review sites that you want to promote on your website, in email blasts, on collateral pieces, invoices, etc. This can help to balance the impact of negative reviews. Be sure to keep things unbiased without requesting that they post only positive reviews.
- Share reviews with your team, both positive and negative. This will not only help to create a customer-focused culture, but also it can help to avoid repeated problems down the road.
Originally appeared in the online edition of the Memphis Business Journal.