I am sure some of you who are reading this article have all been in this situation at some point. You find a 1, 2, or 3-star review on your small business’s Yelp, Google+ listing, Facebook page, start breathing deeply and rapidly, get sweaty palms, maybe grind your teeth, and then immediately email your marketing or social media team. During this “emergency meeting” you scream, yell, and accuse your competitor of writing a “fake” negative review. After all, what could you or someone in your company possibly have done to make someone that upset?!
Instead of saying: “This person is wrong, they are an idiot, I am going to delete (or knock down) the review” (as if deleting it was the right thing to do) you should (need) to respond to the review.
If you are asking yourself “Why do I need to respond,” maybe I should discuss that first before I tell you “How you should respond to a negative review.”
Why should you respond when someone says something bad about you or your small business online?
My answer to this question is always the same: You need to respond and respond in a nice way so that people see you care. You also need to respond to negative reviews because you need to show your customers and fan base that you care about their experience with your company and that you will try to make things right. If you don’t, they will find every review site possible and write everything negative they can.
The fact of the matter is that if you are worried about your online reputation you can do one of two things: Not have an online presence, or put customer and client satisfaction first.
These days, you need an online presence—or should have one. People are spending their time online more than ever whether they are Googling something or chatting with their friends on a social media site. Plus, if you aren’t online your competitor is, and they are getting all of your potential customers. Ask any Digital Marketer, we see how competitive the Internet is, and we know the many benefits of establishing your brand online.
Now that you know why you need to respond let’s discuss how you should respond.
While your first reaction may be to defend yourself or your business in your response, what you should do is inhale, exhale, and then formulate a sincere apology. Mad or upset customers won’t care about how great you are and what you’ve done in the past because all they want to do is vent. Secondly, most of them probably want immediate satisfaction in regards to the troubles they have had with your products or services.
With social media, you have the chance to move the conversation offline, and you can give that disgruntled customer the personal attention they need to feel better. Responding to reviews on Yelp and Facebook by apologizing and asking the individual what you can do to change the way he or she feels, also has the added benefit of making the situation have a positive outcome. Plus, other people (who might want to write a negative review) will see that you care.
You can even move the dialogue to a phone call conversation to help remedy the situation even further.
Everyone hates seeing negative reviews about their business. Also, the number of reviews sites out there increases daily and it’s getting difficult to keep track of what people are saying.
How can you keep track of what people are saying?
One way to keep track is to set up Google Alerts for you or your business. Whenever your name or your business is mentioned on the Internet you will be emailed an “alert.” Also, set up a marketing team to handle reviews and complaints. Having an individual or team set up to “manage your reputation” allows them to address both the bad and good feedback. After all, I know I feel special every time a business owner takes the time to “like” or say “Thank you” for posting a review! J
Just because you believe your small business “does no wrong,” that does not mean that there will eventually be someone who will disagree. When that does happen—take the time to apologize and ask them how you can help them change their mind!