When you’re building a business, every online review counts. And, the smaller your business, the more painful each negative review feels (and looks). So, how should you cope with bad online reviews and negative social messaging? Here are a few tips:
- Have a plan in place to catch issues early.
If you get a bad review, you should address it as soon as possible. That means having a plan in place to detect bad reviews quickly. Whether that’s using a reputation monitoring service or taking the time to inventory all of your social media accounts on a weekly basis, reputation monitoring should be part of your social media checklist.
- Respond promptly and politely.
The last thing that you want to do is get into a “shouting” match with a disgruntled customer online. While it may be hard not to take an insulting review or social media message personally, it’s exactly what you need to do. Instead, remember to empathize, apologize, and try to find a solution. For instance, phrases like, “I can understand why that would frustrate you” and “I’m sorry” may feel like eating a little crow, but they can go a long way to defusing a potentially ugly exchange.
- Control the conversation.
As any good politician can tell you, you can’t control what questions are asked of you but you can control how you answer. When it comes to responding to a bad online review, it’s essentially the same thing. Sure, you can’t control the complaint, but you can control the trajectory of your response. (Or, as Forbes calls it, you can “flip the script.”)
For instance, if you got a bad review for a delayed gift shipment, instead of just saying “So sorry, but you should have expected delays around the holidays,” you could instead respond with something like, “I’m sorry to hear that it took so long for your purchase to get to you. I’m proud to say that 99% of the time, our shipments arrive on time, but sometimes there are circumstances beyond our control that delay shipment.”
- Take the conversation offline.
If the nature of the review lends itself to a more personal intervention, ask if you can contact the reviewer privately via email or phone to get more information and to more adequately address his or her situation. This can sometimes help keep potential escalations defused and out of the public eye. Plus, if necessary, it can allow you the opportunity to offer a small gift to appease a complainer without having to make the exchange public knowledge.
- Get the complaint removed.
Although this is not typically an option, in rare circumstances review sites may allow you to have untrue or particularly egregious complaints removed. For instance, Yelp’s content guidelines call out threats, harassment, lewd language and hate speech as being content violations. So, if any of those are in a review that you feel unfairly targets your business, you can ask to have it removed for ToS (terms of service) and/or content violations. In any event, it can’t hurt to try, right?
- Get positive.
If you have a system in place to maximize the number of positive reviews you get, the less visible the occasional bad review will look. Not sure how to get more good reviews? Ask! And ask often! Sending a thank you email after work is complete or asking for a review via your sales receipt are two easy ways to ask for reviews when customers are most likely to give them.
Need some other ideas on ways to get more good reviews? Call 414-208-0700 or fill out our contact form today to see how our Milwaukee internet marketing team can help. We offer a full suite of reputation monitoring and social media management services.