Hello, and welcome to WebPunch’s School of Online Reputation Management. I’m your host and teacher, Matt Jones, and today we’ll be discussing a topic that invokes fear, anger, and sometimes panic from business owners. Yes, we’re talking about negative online reviews. This is a subject that if it’s not handled properly can definitely negatively impact your business and hurt your online reputation. We’re gonna give you a few tips on how to handle these pesky suckers so that you guys can really shine online.
Tip number one. Don’t argue. Listen, every good therapist will tell you that if you’re discussing, if you’re debating a topic with someone that you care about, in this case, your clients, you don’t want to come away with that conversation feeling like you vanquished them. If you feel like you’re the winner, your customers are gonna feel like they’re the losers, and that damages your relationship, which is obviously something that we don’t want to happen. So don’t argue with those people. Portray your company in a way that shows that you’re listening to them, that you’re going to handle a problem if there is one, but don’t be combative.
Next tip. Be objective. Listen, I’m a business owner, and my business is full of people just like yours. People are fallible, we make mistakes. If you’ve made a mistake with your customers, they’re gonna go online and give you a negative review sometimes. Take a step back, and listen to what your customers are saying. Is it something they keep saying over and over again? Is this a message you’ve heard before? If there’s a mistake that’s been made, acknowledge the mistake. Let that customer know that you’re listening to them, that you care about them, and take an extra step to make sure that their frown is turned upside down. When you do that, you can help that customer become one of your biggest advocates, and invite them to go back online after you’ve made them happy to update their review or delete their old negative review and replace it with a positive one. Again, this can be a really powerful tool to help the operation side of your business correct mistakes that keep occurring.
Next step. Next tip. Take it offline. So we don’t want a situation where the customer has a problem, and you fire back and it becomes a long protracted conversation. That doesn’t portray your company in a positive light. We don’t want to get into a “he said, she said” battle. Invite that customer to contact you via email, via phone to get this conversation offline as soon as possible.
The next tip. Be aware. The worst negative review that you could have online is the negative review that you don’t know of and aren’t aware of. We also want to make sure that we know how many…If you don’t know how many negative reviews you have online, or how many positive reviews for that matter, you don’t really know your online reputation. And if you don’t really know your online reputation, guess what? You don’t know your company’s reputation. Invest in review monitoring technology that will alert you when you’ve received any new reviews about your business so that you can be aware of what people are saying. Studies show that businesses who reply to online reviews quickly are viewed as being more transparent. To be transparent, you’ve got to respond quickly, and to respond quickly, you have to know when those reviews are posted. Again, look into that software. It can really make a big difference. And just so you know, WebPunch does have review monitoring software that can help you out.
The next tip. State the facts. Listen, sometimes customers are gonna go online, and they’re gonna post things that are untrue about your company. At times, they’re gonna post things. They might have thought another business was your business, and they went and they’ve posted something erroneous. Also, sometimes competitors, unscrupulous competitors, will go online and write something about your business to try and make you look bad. Listen, we don’t wanna have a long protracted discussion, but it’s okay to state the facts. It’s okay to give actual facts in a dispassionate way that lets potential customers who are reading this interaction know what really happened. Again, you don’t wanna be combative, but in a kind way state the facts, be concise and take it offline.
Finally, don’t be a Stepford wife. Have you ever seen a business listing or a product or a service that was too good to be true, that looked too good to be true? A million five-star reviews; that just doesn’t look organic and it doesn’t look natural. Because we as consumers know that even the best companies make mistakes sometimes, and in addition to that, sometimes customers are impossible to please. There are a few out there who no matter what you do, you can’t make them happy. So having a few negative reviews can actually make all those positive reviews seem valid. And we don’t want to shy away from that so don’t be scared to have a couple of negative reviews if the overwhelming majority of the customers who write reviews for you say that you’re doing a great job. Again, that’s one thing I wanna make sure that we aren’t and don’t be too afraid of those negative reviews.
Again, we hope these tips help you out. I’m Matt Jones with WebPunch, we are your Online Reputation Management Masters and we’re here to help you knock out your competition one review at a time. Look us up at webpunch.com, and we’ll see you next class.