Negative reviews have a large impact on your service or consumer goods based business. The reality is, one must have a comprehensive plan in place to avoid these types of circumstances before they happen. But, I also understand that this may not seem so important until you see your first negative review – then it all clicks. We’ll try to hit all of the key points between these two main aspects (before and after) here in this article.
It all starts before the review is left. As we move forward, generations of kids brought up in an online world are becoming the modern consumer. You have to realize that every interaction, action, and reaction will probably never escalate to a verbal argument – it will wind up as a 1-star review somewhere on the internet. Usually on a primary site like Google, Yelp, or Facebook where it is at the forefront of the next customers’ research into your business, product, or service.
With this in mind, every interaction, promise, and the result must focus on this singular outcome. The review is the pat on the back, the job well-done, or in the case of negative reviews – hopefully, one that is never left.
Communications with new leads must be polite, complete with accurate information, and void of any extra “tidbits” that you might say jokingly or plainly, but will be defined as rude or unprofessional by the lead. This happens all the time. Keep it short, sweet, and on point.
Keep your promises in your wheelhouse. Quick example, I do not do social media marketing. I do get those requests alongside SEO work. I can easily double my client load by saying yes. The reality is that I am just not good at it or even interested in it. I would be providing subpar service. I simply state upfront that I do not do this. When asked why? I say,
“I really concentrate all of my time on SEO technologies, Social Media is an area that requires true concentration as well, to be effective. My work provided in that part of marketing would just not be that good as I have chosen a different focus for my services.”
Instead of jumping at the opportunity to make more money with something I am just plain not good at, I instead chose to not have that negative review. I didn’t tell them that Social Media is not worth the effort, why dump money there, or any other (untrue) tangent in order to bring them back to SEO – just to make my sale. I put their best interest first and protected my true business model.
That’s the mindset.
Pro Tip: Never ignore the emails or calls from someone who is upset about services received. This is a literal slap in the face that will escalate to louder and louder negative comments left about your business across the internet.
2. Respond Promptly
Most negative reviews are promptly posted shortly after the given incident. In turn, you need to show your attention is also focused on their concern by responding quickly. Even if the issue is never resolved, the next user will see your attentiveness and hopefully review your reply with some understanding of your point of view. This, in and of itself, could bring the next lead back into your sales cycle.
3. Negative Reviews Require Compassion
Your perspective about who was right or wrong has no place here. Let it go.
Every business owner understands the frustrations of negative reviews being left when they are actually in the right – or simply misunderstood. It doesn’t matter though. You are now in the game of public relations wrapped completely around how you handle this.
Show that you have learned something and that you are making changes to avoid this situation again. That’s the public statement that needs to be made.
Negative review: “This company was completely rude and refused to answer any of my questions, do not do business with them!”
What you want to say: “Look dude, you were a complete jerk to my receptionist and there is no way on God’s green earth we would ever do business with you!”
What you should say: “Hello John, we do remember our conversation and we completely miscommunicated our point of view and truly didn’t dedicate the time to understand yours – which escalated the situation. We are sorry we will not be able to help you, but we are providing staff training to better handle situations like these in the future. Your impression of our business is truly important to us and we realized we failed to be our best during an important moment. If we can help in any way, feel free to call us at 123-123-1234 at your earliest convenience”
4. Keep It Business
Again, no matter how nasty the reviewer, you simply cannot stoop down to that level. It simply looks childish. Keep it business – always.
It may seem difficult in the heat of the moment, but a coherent response that shows the values of your business to the nest reader is far more important than throwing a jab. You might feel good about it, but let’s get real – Is this about proving who’s right in a pissing contest – or is it about growing, nurturing, and creating revenue for your business? Your reply will exactly represent which side of that you’re on.
5. Redirect Offline
This is part of the immediate response to-do list. Getting that reviewer to contact you offline, by phone or email, to discover remediation of the issue is going to be what stops this fire from spreading.
There are far too many examples of businesses ignoring squeaky wheels while that wheel gains both more attention and support in digital social circles.
You may have to eat crow, most likely will, but this is part of the modern problems that businesses face. The internet is the word of mouth world now, except these users don’t need to know each other, be in your area, or even in the same country to hear what’s being said.
Treat all negative reviews as a learning experience. As one of the examples had shown above. It is time to turn a negative into a stepping stone of your business growth. In this, acknowledging the event and the outcomes you are now striving for in response to the negative reviews is key. In this, the acknowledgment should include an appreciation of the experience that will now better refine how you do business.
7. Balance Reviews
It’s all math. Star systems, number systems, and feed style review sites all work on ratios. When it comes down to it, you need to go after more positive reviews in response to the negative. You want something like 10 (or more) to 1, good vs bad. This is constant work. While waiting for reviews to organically appear sounds nifty and righteous, if your bad reviews have your online presence in the dumps diligently go after the good.
Bonus: Utilize A Service
I have no experience with these. I will not link out to one as I have zero experience. But, review management services do exist and some of them even claim a negative review removal service where you do not pay until the review has actually been removed. In some serious cases, this might definitely be something to look into. Search Google: Bad Review Removal Services