Online Reputation Management: How to Respond to Negative Reviews
It’s a terrible feeling to have someone badmouth your business with snarky reviews and poor comments about you, your employees, and your company. Why are people so MEAN? While we’ll never really figure that out, it’s important to know how to deal with it and even turn it into a positive situation.
Mean Girls, 2004
You’ve probably noticed the rise of negative reviews everywhere online. That’s because of the Internet’s current state where people not only think reviews are helpful, but they expect to find them online about any company, person, or product before making any kind of buying decision. The anonymity of the Internet gives people the freedom to say what’s really on their mind without getting any retribution for it. And the nature of the Internet gives people the opportunity to stretch the truth – minor instances become tragedies; small disappointments become huge dramatic “life-ruiner” moments.
According to this article by Forbes, there are three things to keep in mind when dealing with these negative reviews that can significantly everyone’s frown around.
1. No Matter What, Stay Positive
You can turn around a negative situation by combatting it with constructive positivity, no matter how detrimental the comment or review made about your business. Instead of reacting and fueling the fire with more negativity, respond to it with positivity and even some transparency and honesty. This shows that you are a real, genuine business doing its best to alleviate a situation. This shows that you care, which can have a positive impact on your customers.
2. Just Be Cool
This goes back to that one saying, “it’s not about the fall; it’s about how you get back up.” Believe it or not, customers won’t automatically shut you out if they see a few bad reviews. What will earn you the most respect is responding the review in a positive, upbeat, and helpful manner. Even if you want to bash and fire back, the best thing to do is to back away and collect your thoughts.
You don’t want to say anything brash and regret it later. Take the time to cool off and come up with a polite response and that you appreciate the feedback. “Explain your side and add a human touch.”
3. Flip the Switch
Responding to the review without being reactionary can actually give you the opportunity to communicate your strengths and positive qualities as a business. Here’s an example:
“Hi X, I’m so sorry you had a bad experience with us. We’ve been in business for the last several years and we work really hard to accommodate thousands of customers a week and give them the best experience possible at our hotel…”
The key is to not act in a defensive manner when handling bad reviews, even if they aren’t valid. Since the Internet is so transparent, it’s important that responses are well-thought-out and that the customer feels acknowledged and heard, no matter if they’re really right or wrong. This significantly dissipates any negativity from the situation and can actually improve your online reputation.