Dealing with negative reviews:
With social media steering people toward more reputation-based searches, finding and spreading positive reviews is becoming more essential. At a recent web conference several web marketing consultants explaining that almost 80 percent of their clients services are being "researched" online by potential customers before they'll commit to a purchase.
All studies show that the worse thing a company can do is ignore legitimate-sounding complaints. Countering with positive reviews helps, but so does a simple acknowledgement and promise to do better. So many companies appear to ignore complaint, sounding like a concerned company makes customers feel like they have a voice/influence that can help assure them that they will be happy with a product -- often increasing sales. In this way, negative remarks can actually be marketing opportunities.
We highly recommend for all clients is to diligently attack every review site with every positive review they have to keep the negative reviews from appearing to be the majority opinion. Many companies now have employees that do nothing but address online reviews, and the results have been very positive. Often customers just need to see signs that the companies cares when something negative is said.
Negative feedback comes in a few different flavors, each of which is best dealt with by a different type of response.
– Someone has an issue with your product or service and has laid out exactly what went wrong. This type of feedback is negative in the sense that it paints your business in a poor light, but it can be helpful in exposing real problems that need to be dealt with.
When dealing with Straight Problems, a response is almost certainly necessary. Whether that response is personal or a broad public-facing message depends on how widespread the problem is and how many people reported it. Regardless, if a real problem exists, steps should be taken to fix it and customers should be notified that those steps are being taken. Remember that there will be times when such criticism is the result of a perceived problem rather than an actual problem (e.g., someone who just doesn’t like the method by which you do something). Even this type of complaint should be given a response, if only to say, “Thanks for bringing it to our attention, but here’s why we do it that way.”
– Even more helpful is when the comment comes with a suggestion attached. Many customers — including some of your most loyal — will use social media to suggest ways in which you can improve your product or service. While this type of feedback may point out your flaws, and is thus negative, it can be extremely helpful to receive.
Certainly there will be times when you won’t want to implement the suggestion given — probably most times you won’t — but you’ll build loyalty and trust by responding to criticism with a positive message. It is well worth the effort to thank those consumers who took the time to provide you with a suggestion or point out your product’s flaws.
– While the attack itself may not be merited, the issue that catalyzed it does have merit in this type of negative feedback. Essentially, you or your company did something wrong, and someone is angry.
Merited Attacks are a bit tougher to deal with, because they’re more likely to feel personal. You should always try to keep in mind that this type of feedback, as harsh as it may be, has a basis in a real problem. It is best to respond promptly and with a positive vibe (e.g., thank the commenter for the feedback and assure them that steps are being taken to correct the issue or mitigate their problem, such as offering a partial refund).
– The difference between trolling and a merited attack are that trolls have no valid reason for being angry at you. Also in this category are spammers, who will use a negative comment about your product or service (whether true or not) to promote a competing service.
This category of negative feedback that does not require a response. In fact, it is almost always best not to respond to Trolling or Spam. This type of feedback isn’t really feedback at all. It is designed either to bait you into an unnecessary and image-damaging fight, or to siphon off your customers using underhanded tactics. You should always ignore this variety of feedback, and when appropriate, remove it as soon as you spot it.
The number one rule when responding to all criticism, even the negative type, is to stay positive. Adding more negativity to the conversation by letting yourself be drawn into a fight with a customer or user will only reflect poorly on your business.
We are now offering a full-package outsourced service for companies who can’t afford a full time staff to address reviews.
We do two things...
1. Review Blast
Take positive customer reviews and have them automatically spread everywhere that matters -- Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook, Google Reviews, and many more. We will even help you collect the reviews by sending email surveys to your customers and obtain permission to post their reviews online. Have the very best comments about your company spread all over the web with links back to your website, helping counter any negative reviews and possibly boost your traffic and search engine rankings as well. Angry people are more vocal; don't let a few negative comments seem like that's all people are saying about you. Get the positive reviews out there!
2. Track / Respond
By setting up alerts to be notified anytime anyone post ANYTHING about you or your company, we will know what they say and where they posted it. Whenever possible, we will post a response that offers a way to turn a negative into a positive. We will work with you to see if coupons or maybe just a friendly request to give your service/product another shot. Sometimes people just need to know you care and hear their complaint, and a reply can often get people who overreacted to retract their negative post. If they do not, your post will show others that you do care about service quality. This alone can often give people confidence to try your service/product for themselves...no matter what one other person said.
By making negatives reviews go away, or at least make them seem rare, this will help increase your product acceptance and increase sales.