HOWTO: Handle Negative Online Business Reviews Like a Pro
Let’s face it, online reviews can make you or break you. People rely more than ever on online review sites before making purchases or doing business with a company. If you’re not already monitoring reviews of your company then it’s time to start.
Claim Any Listings Floating Around the Web
The first thing you should do as a business owner is be sure to “claim” your local listings so you can have full control over the details and this also enables you to respond to reviews as a business owner. Popular review sites you should search for your business listing on include Google Places, Yelp, Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Smile Reminder (doctor reviews), Angie’s List, Kudzu and MerchantCircle.
Chances are you already have a listing on one of the above sites just waiting to be claimed.
Respond Online and Take it Offline
Once your listings are claimed they are ready to be monitored. And this is where the main point of this blog entry begins! You must respond to reviews, good and bad. The one thing our clients seem to be most confused about is how to address the bad reviews. Well, here are some tips to follow:
1. Do not respond “in the moment.” You may feel heated when you first read a negative review so step back and think about your response before you respond angrily. This is the time to take in some constructive criticism (assuming it’s a legit review).
2. Once you’re ready to respond, start off positive. Here’s an example of how to positively start your response, “We are open to all feedback from clients, as we believe it helps us adjust to better serve our clients.”
3. You should also discuss how you tried to resolve the issue (if you did) or how you plan on resolving the issue.
4. End the response by giving your contact information.
Be Known For Your Excellent Customer Service and Responsiveness
One of the companies I most admire for their customer service is ModCloth. They encourage customer feedback and will respond to any negative product reviews in a very personable way. They refer to the reviewer by name and make it known that they appreciate the feedback. Here are some screen shots of the great customer service I’ve witnessed on ModCloth: