In many ways, the internet controls the way businesses operate.
People search for employment on national and regional job sites, post employer reviews on Glassdoor, and customers review businesses on Yelp and the Better Business Bureau.
The centrality of online searches and reviews makes it even more nerve-wracking when someone does draw negative attention with a scathing review or mention of your business. The situation is difficult to avoid.
Draw in enough customers, and eventually someone will write a bad review.
Every company brand has a reputation attached to it. The internet has also allowed customers to develop the easy habit of researching brands online before they make their purchases or choose a service.
When people see your logo, font, and imaging, they will likely associate it with a review or mention they saw. If there’s a negative review drawing a lot of attention online, this can be a nightmare scenario for a business.
However, a negative public mention is not a death sentence. There are constructive ways to control your online reputation that will leave your business in a better situation than it was before. As long as your business takes a smart approach when it happens, there will be no need to sweat a bad review.
When that negative mention appears on your company Facebook or Yelp page, don’t panic. These things can’t be completely avoided, no matter how hard you try. Instead, follow the advice listed below and turn this bad situation into a plus for your business.
Don’t ignore the negative comment. If you let the mention sit there unattended, on-looking customers will think you don’t care about the issue.
Show that your customers’ feedback is meaningful to you by attempting to resolve their concerns with a public response. If you respond appropriately, customers will take note and appreciate your professionalism.
A public response also prevents customers with similar concerns from posting them publicly. A response can sometimes work as an FAQ for all customers.
That being said, make sure that your response is calm and professional, not emotional, cutting, or poorly phrased. Put some time and consideration into your response before it’s posted. If you’re feeling particularly heated, consider drafting a reply and walking away for a little while before hitting send.
Perhaps have a co-worker or employee review it beforehand. Once you’ve posted your reply, your response is out in the open, so it’s important to perfect it ahead of time.
Embrace the Negative
Reading a negative review may hurt, but search for the truth in the comments, even if the customer is being unfair. What caused the issue to arise? Where was a mistake made? How can a similar situation be avoided in the future?
Use the negativity as an opportunity to strengthen your brand, product, and customer service. Denying there is any truth to the review may look combative and unprofessional.
Factor in ideas of how you can improve your business into your response. Customers want to see that you’re professional and on a constant path of improvement, sensitive to any and all concerns.
Share your conclusions and the situation with your employees, so everyone is on the same page and understands how to avoid a similar negative mention in the future.
Encourage Customers to Write Reviews
You may have received a bad review, but think about all the customers who have been happy with your service. They are all potential good reviews waiting to happen.
Let the customers speak for you by always encouraging reviews, and in the end your positive reviews will far outnumber the negative ones. When potential customers visit your page, they will see the majority opinion and be able to judge the reality for themselves.
If a customer tells you how happy they are with your service, ask them to review your business. Provide links and pages for them to visit, as well as instructions on how to post their review.
Register your business on various review sites to draw in positive attention. Once you’ve started receiving some reviews, make the effort to respond to each one, even if it’s just to say, “Thank you! We hope to see you again!”
The quantity of negative reviews is more important than the contents of a single review. Outweigh the negative with the positive, and see your business thrive.
Megan Cahill is the Outreach Coordinator for BrandYourself. In her writing, she offers keen insight into the online branding world for businesses and individuals. Other topics of interest include the U.S. job market, business, marketing, SEO, and everything in between. She believes in empowering people to make their own reputations, and aims to show them how.