Online Reputation Management | Negative Response Strategy
In our last article in the Online Reputation Management series, we discussed monitoring your company’s online reputation by searching for reviews and comments based on your keywords and brand names. We spoke of categorizing these comments and reviews, setting a benchmark and then compare them with your competition. In this article we will go to the next stage and create a negative response strategy for your company.
It’s always good to read and hear positive reviews, but it’s the negative ones which help us most. You know that you’re the best in the business and so do your clients. But negative comments are the ones which make us sit up, look again and then do something about it!
As a business owner, you’re aware that building relationships with your customers and clients is critical to your success. And responding to feedback whether it’s good or bad is a great way to know and understand your customers.
If you’re a Google Places business owner, you know that you can respond to those reviews and feedback which are posted on “Reviews by Google” – you’ll find this on the “Place” page. But remember, if you post a response here, it’s public! So even if the review or feedback is super-negative, remember that it’s not personal – you’re not the one being criticized, it’s the customer’s experience which needs to be addressed. So when you respond, no matter how you feel about it, keep the following in mind;
– Respond quickly! The longer the negative review remains visible without a response from you the more damage can and will more than likely happen – it seems that you don’t care.
– Be professional at all times. Keep your responses short and to the point with the focus on resolving the issue. A battle with a disgruntled customer is not something to win, it’s something to resolve to everyone’s benefit. Arguing with him simply escalates the issue to a much higher level – we’re hoping to get this customer back and keep him, so we need to find a way to do just that.
– Stay focused on the issue at hand. You’re responding to a customer’s feedback concerning an experience he has had with your company. Address that experience, in a professional manner without responding to the customer’s exasperation. However, if his feedback is unsuitable and goes against the posting guidelines, you can, if you wish, use the “flag as inappropriate” link.
– Negative feedback is positive! Or can be! Look on all feedback and reviews as a “report card” clearly showing where improvement is required and then work on it. One of your customers is disappointed with his experience – but has taken the time to let you know about it, instead of finding another supplier or vendor. Thank him for his generous action and let him know what you are doing to repair the situation – it’s public, so everyone will see it and your good reputation can only increase.
– Be friendly! Add a note about anything new you’re doing in your business which might be of interest to readers – but don’t try to sell them your service. But advising them of a new product or service would be beneficial to both of you.
Here are a couple of “sample” responses you might consider, especially if you’re finding it difficult to get started on it.
Positive Review and Response
I’m Bill Jones and I stayed at – – – – Hotel in Boston two nights ago. I was very pleased find that wireless internet was free – unusual as most hotels charge a hefty fee! Parking was free too!! I also appreciated the courtesy and professionalism of the hotel’s front desk staff and the speed of Housekeeping’s delivery when I asked the front desk for more towels. I will certainly use this establishment as my Boston digs in my future business travel and wanted to let fellow travellers know.
I greatly appreciate the fact that you took the time to write a review concerning your recent stay with us. I took pleasure in passing your complimentary remarks to our front desk staff and to housekeeping and also want to tell you that we are the only hotel in Back Bay to offer free internet – we plan to continue to do so. We look forward to hosting you again during your next trip to Boston and, if you will contact me prior to your arrival, I would be very pleased to check you in personally.
Negative Review and Response
I took my two year old car to . . . . . . . . for an oil change, lube and filter and they told me it would be ready in two hours. When I got there, my car was not ready and I had to sit in a dirty chair and wait for another hour. When I finally got my car, there was mechanic’s grease on the leather seat and steering wheel as well as on the door and my suit was stained. This is not the only mechanic shop in the area and I shall not be returning to this one.
Please accept our sincere apologies for your unfortunate experience – there is no excuse for it. We rarely see negative reviews and I’d like to try to repair our reputation with you by offering you a free oil change and lube when due. In addition, if you would let me know the cost of having your suit professionally cleaned, I will be more than pleased to reimburse you. Please accept our apologies on this occasion and be assured that it will not happen again.
You can publicly respond to reviews as a Google Places business owner by logging into your Google account and visit your listing’s Place page. Find the Reviews section and click on “Respond publicly as the Owner.” You can now write your response and click on “Publish.”
Of course this response strategy not only applies to Google Places but on any website which has a review pertaining to your business.
In our next Online Reputation Management article, we will discuss how to remove a negative response.