Online reputation management is growing, just like the amount of customer reviews are increasing. A negative review can slow progress and shed a not so flattering light on your business. But I can promise you one thing:
You can’t please everyone. And sometimes, it’s impossible to even try.
Your online reputation is everything…especially if you’re a business. In the midst of an unpredictable economy, people are very cautious when purchasing online. Even more cautious about trusting resources. Negative reviews can be a proverbial nail in the coffin (unless you’re a mortician, then this may be a good analogy).
So how do you handle negative reviews? The short answer is “very carefully” with tact. Some businesses will ignore a bad review and think nothing of it. I strongly advise against that.
As a Digital Marketing Consultant, I focus on engaging and understanding target audiences. You should do the same with bad reviews. The fact is, you’re in business to secure satisfied customers. So what happens when you’re met with an unsatisfied customer?
I’m going to show you an effective approach to dealing with a negative review, while improving your online reputation.
The following steps will not only help address online reputation issues, but also may help salvage an upset customer/client.
First Steps To Managing Your Online Reputation
When responding to a negative review, never argue with the customer! If you reply and go on and on trying to explain what went wrong or how the customer is incorrect…then you’re viewed as defending yourself.
And in the court of public opinion- you may make things worse and be viewed as in the wrong.
The better approach is to keep your response short and client focused. Remember, the customer experience doesn’t end after a purchase or a follow. You need to be viewed as reasonable and approachable.
In the instance below, I’m going to use Facebook reviews as an example. However, this technique could be used for Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor, or anywhere else that shows customer reviews.
Note: Always address the reviewer by name (if it’s shown) and remain as pleasant, empathetic, and helpful as possible. Whether you’re the owner or employee, this is what your customer service is all about.
So what do you say? Well, your response should never be more than 4 sentences.
Try these steps out!
- Apologize for any inconvenience using the customer’s name
- Reiterate the company’s commitment to their customers
- Reach out in an effort to rectify or address the issue
- Reaffirm your understanding of the unpleasant customer experience (optional 4th sentence)
Hi [customer name],
We apologize for any inconvenience you’re experiencing with our [add product or service]. [Company name] prides itself in delivering exceptional service to all of our customers. Our client services representative will reach out to you so we can address your situation directly. Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to assisting you further.
Did you see what happened? You took something that was negative in nature and made yourself seem approachable. Engaged. Moreover, other readers will see how you handled it (and agree with you).
And in the court of public opinion- you have a better chance at looking like an all-star business that wants your customers happy (and possibly even innocent of the unfortunate inconvenience the reviewer may have experienced).
You’ll also want to go a little further. After all, search engines, like nosy neighbors, also saw what was written. Time to whip out your trusty SEO hat, buckle up, and get to work.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to leave you hanging. In my upcoming article: Managing Your Reputation With SEO…I’ll show you just how to do just that!
Feel free to check out my client reviews, and judge for yourself whether I can help renovate your reputation.