Every business is at risk of getting negative online reviews or negative comments to a blog post. Naturally, dealing with those not-so-nice reviews and comments sends anyone into defense mode.
After all, it’s our first reaction to defend ourselves (or business or product or service) when delivers a blow.
But when it comes to handling negative reviews and comments, there is only choice: Kill ‘em with kindness.
If your business, product or service gets a negative review
- Monitor for mentions of your brand name using Google Alerts or monitoring software like Trackur or Radian6. This way, you’re one of the first to know when there is a situation you need to deal with.
- Always respond. Quickly. Time is of the essence. The sooner you can respond, the better your damage control.
- Not responding is not an option. If there are negative reviews right now, go back and respond to them, even if they are old. It’s better to respond now than never at all.
- Have a plan for who should respond. For example, when handling negative comments to a blog post, the author of the post should respond.
- Keep a level head, and keep emotion out of it. It may help to have someone else in the office read your drafted response and screen for defensive, emotional or negative tone.
- Be kind. Even if the reviewer gives false information or even if the reviewer never paid for your product/services, the Internet is not the place to engage in negative banter for current and future customers to see.
- Say you’re sorry. If the customer had a bad experience, then apologize for that. It shows your dedication to customer service.
- Be honest about who you are. Leave your name and title in the response.
- Keep it professional. Remember that the reviews /comments stay online forever and the people who see the exchange later will recognize your cordiality.
- “Don’t feed the trolls.” Some people are just looking for a fight, so don’t give it to them.
- Take it offline. Provide an email address and or phone number where the person can contact you.
- Don’t delete the comment, unless it uses profanity.
- Thank the reviewer for being a patron to your business, even if their review is not nice. Your professionalism will show through.
- If the reviewer gives false information in the comment or review, be gentle in how your approach to correct them. Perhaps you link to an article, photo or video that proves them wrong. Recently, a disgruntled customer posted online that our client’s property was dirty. It was a false charge. But to prove it to the rest of the world, our client used his smart phone to shoot a video as he walked through the office. The images clearly showed the place was clean. That video speaks louder than his words ever could have.
- Never, ever pay for positive reviews. It’s not only bogus, but you run the risk of getting outed. If you’re outed, then the problem just got worse. Remember, in this online world, transparency is non-negotiable.
- Do not write “fake” positive reviews to counteract the negative ones. Any tech person can figure out the IP address and out you.