As Benjamin Franklin phrased it, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” A negative review can be devastating for a business, and disgruntled customers are often the most motivated to broadcast their opinions online. When potential customers Google directions to your business, they can see reviews and ratings without even intending to search for them. Depending on your business, you may have reviews on Yelp!, Foursquare, Trip Advisor, Yahoo!, Facebook, and elsewhere. As it’s impossible to satisfy everyone completely, it’s important to know how to respond to bad reviews. NOLA Media Group wants to help you manage your business’s reputation. Start by keeping these six things in mind.

#1 Begin With Prevention

 

Prevent bad reviews by providing excellent customer service. Satisfied customers may not often fill out reviews, but they will recommend your business to friends. If your business has the enthusiastic support of the community, then that appreciation will gradually show up in your reviews. A steady stream of negative reviews should be symptomatic of bigger problems that need attention.

#2 Reply Promptly

 

You’ll want to keep up to date on the review sites relevant to your business, and respond promptly, publicly, and professionally to negative (and positive) reviews. Showing that you care about customer satisfaction will dramatically lessen the impact of a couple negative reviews. First, you’ll need to register with the site as the official representative of the business, and while responding promptly, you’ll want to be careful about how you respond.

#3 Don’t Be Defensive

 

It’s a good idea to thank the reviewer for bringing a problem to your attention. Some people have unreasonable expectations, but other readers should be impressed by your calm, professional response. When you speak for the business, it’s important to apologize for any negative customer experience. Even in an exceptionally well-run business, things occasionally go wrong, and it’s good for you to know when customers are upset. However unreasonable the complaint may seem, it’s hard to know how your written response will sound to someone else.

#4 Move The Conversation

 

If the discussion requires anything more than an apology, move the conversation out of the spotlight by giving your work email address. You don’t want a long string of messages drawing attention to this negative review. Plus, if you end up offering a free meal or other compensation, you don’t want to incentivize negative reviews. Be careful to respond quickly and appropriately to their email, as the unsatisfied reviewer could choose to publish the exchange.

#5 Be Transparent

 

Don’t delete bad reviews, and don’t have employees or others fake positive reviews. If they see that negative reviews have been deleted, potential customers will assume the worst. An occasional low rating is an opportunity to show how your business responds to customer complaints. To bring up your average score, encourage more customers to write reviews. If you have the email addresses of customers, then you can invite them to fill out a quick online survey about their experience, or you can email them links to review websites.

#6 Take Reviews (Somewhat) Seriously

 

Use the reviewer’s name or ID to address them directly, and make a genuine effort to evaluate what might be wrong. Try to see negative reviews as opportunities to improve the experience of all your customers, even though many reviews seem to be written by vindictive complainers. Regardless of the legitimacy of their claims, negative reviews can pose a real threat to the reputation of your business, and it’s important to manage them carefully.
Deftly handling negative reviews is one of the most essential ways to manage the online reputation of your business and is not something to be taken lightly. Reputation Monitoring should not be ignored, but oftentimes is because it’s daunting, time intensive, and generally difficult to manage.

Your Audience Experts at NOLA Media Group have a solution to make this task easier for you. Our Reputation Monitoring platform helps you track and manage your online presence, listings, reviews, comments, and even your social media all in one place. We can assist you in discovering and participating in conversations about your business, so contact Your Audience Expert to take control of your conversation today.