Most companies have online reviews about them on the Internet. To receive negative reviews from clients, whether through Google, Yelp or ‘vengeance threads’ on forums can seriously damage your organisations reputation and scare potential clients off.
It’s a facet of human nature for unhappy clients to tell more people than happy customers and we find with certain sites such as Yelp, negative reviews commonly out-number positive ones.
Is there anything that can be done about Bad Reviews?
Firstly, you cannot force Google or Yell to remove bad reviews about your organisation. If you fancy taking on their lawyers, then good luck – you’ll need it.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Firstly put in a place a strategy for monitoring any mentions of your brand or trading name online. You really dont want to allow bad reviews to stagnate online with no response from yourselves. Google Alerts are a great place to start to monitor mentions.
- If you receive a bad review, respond with kindness and ask them to speak with you in order to correct the situation. Resist all urges to appear defensive, emotional or angry no matter how that customer has made you feel. If you are compensating the customer in anyway such as credit notes, partial refunds or gifts, it would be advisable to do that in private correspondence instead of in public on the review site (which would open another can of worms).
- Create a system for ethically generating positive reviews (remember, people are more naturally inclined to write reviews if they have something bad to say). Ask them, encourage them or even reward them (within reason). Ethically is the key here – its easy to spot people writing their own or competitors reviews and being caught doing this can lead to further bad publicity as in the case of the Accor Hotel executive writing negative competitor reviews on TripAdvisor. Through your system of encouraging positive reviews , you will acheive 2 effects:
- Reviews tend to default to being sorted in date order with most recent at the top. Generating positive reviews is a great way of pushing the negative ones further down the page.
- Positive reviews will outnumber negative reviews leading people to conclude that the bad reviewer was cantankerous or having a bad day.
Links & References:
- Case of the Accor Hotel exec and TripAdvisor http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/10076753/TripAdvisor-reviewer-exposed-as-hotel-executive.html
- Google Alerts to monitor your brand online
If you would like to speak to an expert about online reputation strategies including putting in place a system as outlined above, please contact us.
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