There are myriad online review sites out there for consumers to use when deciding whether or not to patronize a business, product or service. Thus, it is important for businesses to be aware of what people are saying about them on these websites, as reviews can have a huge impact on their profits. Bad reviews especially.
No business owner wants to see their company’s good name dragged through the mud. Unfortunately, just about every business will have some negative reviews posted about them. As soon as you are aware of a bad review, you should act promptly, but also properly. Marketing expert Barry LaBov, founder of LaBov & Beyond Marketing, offers some tips.
Join the Conversation
If you come across a bad review online, you can join the conversation, address any issues voiced by customers, and acknowledge their concerns. Even if you don’t agree with what they say, it’s crucial to remain professional and demonstrate that you understand where they are coming from.
Hire a Customer Service Team
A customer service team will monitor bad reviews and complaints from customers on reviews sites, as well as social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. By hiring dedicated staff members, you can ensure that complaints are acknowledged promptly and that customers receive a response in a timely fashion. Believe it or not, a sincere and well-written response can save you a customer.
Ask for Customer Suggestions
Maybe you’re not sure how to respond to a complaint. Why not ask the customer what they suggest instead? This shows customers that you sincerely care about their opinions and want to find a solution. By asking customers for advice, they often feel highly valued.
Give Customers a Safe Place to Voice Their Concerns
In an effort to steer customers away from review sites that are open to everyone, give them a safe place to leave their feedback or opinions, such as a form on your website. Encourage them to leave a review and let them know that they can be open with you.
Encourage Positive Reviews
People usually only take the time to write a review when they’re disappointed, not necessarily happy. Encourage satisfied customers and clients to leave positive reviews online to spread the word about your business. Also, having a lot more positive reviews than negative ones will help the bad ones look like a fluke, rather than a trend.
Work with the Review Website
While it’s one thing to be upset with a business and let it be known, some people go to the extreme when leaving reviews. They may post threatening comments or use inappropriate language. Some businesses even use shady marketing tactics, purposely posting poor reviews about their competitors using fake accounts. In both instances, you should contact the review website to let them know the situation. Remember, these sites have their own reputations to maintain and won’t want spammy comments, foul, abusive language, or slanderous statements on their site.
Consult with an Attorney
While every company will receive complaints, you may want to consult a business attorney about how to appropriately deal with them – especially if they involve any legal issues. Depending upon your specific situation and what was said or done, Barry LaBov suggests that you may want to consider filing a lawsuit.