We get a lot of questions about how to counteract negative online reviews so we thought we’d give a more detailed brief on the topic.
Of course the first you may hear about a serious complaint is through an online customer review board or service-rating site, and then your reaction is understandable: Yikes! There’s no telling how much damage that’s going to do to your business, and you can hardly take an eraser to the Internet. Why didn’t this person address it with you or one of your managers personally? Here are some suggestions to counter negative online reviews.
The first and obvious suggestion is if you are hearing a common complaint, stop defending it and fix it. Perception is people’s reality so regardless of the excuse, if you are receiving multiple complaints about the same thing, it’s going to hurt your reputation. Listen to the repetition. Sure, you’ll get a few people who are snarky and just have to spout off their opinions to the world because they think they have something clever to say. But if you keep hearing the same complaints about being overpriced, delivering poor quality goods or services, or having a complacent or rude person on staff, make those online review boards your best friend. Start by a) heeding the repetitive feedback b) correcting the problem c) publishing a response to the review that acknowledges the feedback, letting the world know you care and have addressed the problem.
Many reviews have an online user ID they must associate with their comments. Reach out to your complainers and ask them how you can make it right. That doesn’t mean you need to give them something free, but rather, listen to them, take note, thank them for their feedback, and tell them you are interested in fixing the problem. Ask them to give you another try, and tell them to ask for you or a manager by name during their next service or buying experience.
Monkey Pile on Top of the Bad Ratings
Few companies will admit to doing so, but some will have their trusted friends and employees hit the ratings charts and brag up their company. You can usually spot those reviews when you see many reviews in a short window of time and the reviews don’t have any suggestions or even a slight comment of negativity. Even glowing reviewers tend to leave a short comment about a needed area of improvement.
Instead of falsely inflating the buzz about your company, run an in-house campaign so that when customers mention they’ve reviewed you online, they receive, for instance, a free spot remover kit with an in-home carpet cleaning.
You can turn Internet rating sites into your friend. They can be very useful if you open your mind to what is being said about your company. Are you ready to give it a try? Start by Googling common terms associated with your company plus the word “review” and see what others are saying about you.