Negative reviews are no joke — they can inflict lasting damage to your company’s reputation and long-term business success. They are particularly concerning because it’s hard to tell how many customers were considering patronizing your business, but then turned away due to the negative online reviews.
Even businesses with the best practices will have to deal with negative reviews at some point because it’s a plain, simple fact: You can’t please everyone all the time.
Here is what you need to know about mitigating harm from less-than-positive customer feedback:
Manage Your Online Reputation
First, you need to have a system in place that manages your business’ online presence and alerts you when new reviews are posted on public sites like Google Reviews and Yelp.
With all of the tasks you handle in your day-to-day job as a business owner, you don’t have time to constantly refresh your company’s Yelp page. Use a monitoring system that takes care of this for you so you can stay aware of online conversation surrounding your brand.
Handle Public Complaints with Care
Let’s say you’ve discovered a negative online review about your business. You might feel disappointed, angry or frustrated, but a public forum isn’t the place to express yourself. How you respond to public complaints is powerful. Rein in your emotions, control your reaction and take the following steps:
1. Investigate whether the review is legitimate.
You have no way of knowing who wrote the review — it could be a disgruntled former employee or a competitor. If you suspect this is the case, you can report the review to the website moderator. They will review the comment and remove it if they determine you are correct.
2. Try discussing the complaint directly with the customer.
If you know who posted the comment, contact the customer directly. Assume a friendly, professional tone and ask what you can do to address their concerns and change their opinion about your company. If you are able to satisfy their request, politely ask them to alter their original review to reflect their new opinion.
3. Respond with courtesy.
If you decide to respond to the public complaint, do so with a courteous, professional tone. Remember that your goal is to demonstrate that you have done everything you can to resolve issues with the unhappy customer. Stay aware that your public answer is more to educate future customers than to win the argument with the original poster.
Ward Off Dissatisfaction by Connecting with Clients
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your company never had any negative reviews posted online?
You can make an extra effort to turn this possibility into a reality by having an open discussion with your customers before you conclude your business relationship. Ask them directly if you’ve fully met their expectations, and if you haven’t, what you can do to change their perception of your business.
If you consistently receive negative customer feedback about one specific issue, it might be time to consider making changes to your business practices to prevent problems of the same kind in the future.
How Accrue Reviews Can Help
Accrue Reviews helps business owners manage negative reviews and keep them private. When your customers follow the link in the text or email message, they are directed to a survey. If they answer negatively, you have a chance to address their problems before they submit a bad review in a public setting.
Accrue Reviews monitors your company’s online reputation and keeps you in control of your image, a central part of effective marketing to the digital consumer of today.