Online reputation management has become one of the most important business trends in the last decade. As more than 90% of North American consumers read online reviews to learn about products or services, companies are struggling to maintain a good digital image. Monitoring online reviews is especially important if you receive negative feedback from your customers.
In such cases, you need to react promptly and provide consumers with an appropriate explanation. Managing negative comments requires a delicate approach and I will use this article to present you 10 must-follow rules for handling bad online reviews.
How to Deal With Negative Online Comments
The Internet is not allowing anyone to hide. People are free to read online reviews and leave positive or negative feedback, thus revealing strengths or weaknesses of any product.
“Recent studies proved that 86% of buyers would pay more for services from a company with higher ratings and reviews. This fact clearly suggests that you need to dedicate a lot of time to online reputation management.” – explained Christine Towers, Industry Research Expert from Bestessays.com.au.
But how exactly can you do that? Let’s see these 10 basic rules.
There are some major online product review websites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Amazon Customer Reviews, Google Places, etc. You need to follow these pages and analyze comments about you and your competitors in general.
However, if you want to be constantly updated and learn about all online product mentions, you should apply for Google Alerts. This is by far the best way to stay alert and find out instantly when someone writes something bad about your brand.
Don’t answer stupid comments
Some people are simply trolls who would do anything to cause angry reactions from other users or even companies. If their comments are obviously stupid and illogical, it is probably the best to leave it like that and not answer. Doing so, you will prevent a potential outburst of similar comments and allow other users to see that this review just doesn’t make any sense.
If you see a terrible customer review but know that it’s not true, you can report it and ask for the comment removal. In that regard, you should explore all options that these websites give you. Know your rights and find out when it is legit to simply delete a negative comment. This way, you can easily remove and block users who intentionally leave negative critics.
Don’t pay for good reviews
A lot of reputation managers think that the easiest way to answer a negative review is to ask or even pay someone to add a positive reply. However, this is not a good method as it doesn’t change the fact that your product is not so good after all.
At the same time, such approach would stimulate other individuals or companies to do the same thing, which would jeopardize the credibility of online product reviews. A research proved that around half of companies found wrong information about their products or services online.
But websites like Yelp or Amazon improved their algorithms in the last few years and they are now able to detect false reviews much easier. The time of false statements and malicious comments will be over soon, hopefully.
Avoid emotional reactions
The worst thing that you can do is to express anger or sarcasm when you answer online comments. Don’t let it become a personal issue as you will lose the customer for good and you’ll probably also chase away a lot of other users who visited the webpage looking for the product analysis. You are representing a serious business and you have to act accordingly while you communicate with your clients.
Stay calm and objective
When I say that you have to avoid emotional reactions, it basically means that you should stay calm and objective instead. Keep it professional and let the users know that they can count on non-biased responses from company representatives. It will prove your credibility and increase the level of trust between you and your followers.
Apologize and ask for input
Nobody’s perfect and your products will probably have some sort of flaw every once in a while. If you see someone complaining about it in online reviews, make sure to respond quickly and apologize for the inconvenience.
After that, you should examine the situation more thoroughly and ask the person who made the comment to explain the problem precisely. Your job is to take it into account and inform the sales and production departments that they have a problem with this product or service.
Be sincere and offer solutions
Now that you’ve detected the problem and realized that it was your company’s mistake, you should be honest and straightforward. Don’t use buzzwords and generic phrases while answering a bad review. Instead, be concrete and promise that you will take care of the problem in a timely manner.
Additionally, you should offer a few solutions to the user. If you do it politely and sincerely, they will appreciate your effort and perhaps even strengthen the bonds with your brand. That’s why poor customer reviews are not exclusively bad for the business.
On the contrary, they also give you the opportunity to improve services and increase consumer loyalty – but only if you exercise a reliable online reputation management.
Public and private answer
Facing a negative feedback, you need to let other users know that they can still count on your products. That’s why you should add a public answer and prevent further damage. But on the other hand, you don’t want to burden all users with the details of this problem and you should send a private message to the person who made the bad review. This way, you will agree on further steps and how you can redeem for the inconvenience.
Learn on mistakes
It’s not a problem to make a malfunctioning product but it would be terrible to let the same issue happen again. You need to learn on mistakes and eliminate the possibility for further online complaints about the same kind of problem. Bear it in mind – your job is not to be perfect but it is obligatory to solve problems and improve your services along the way.
Bad online reviews can drastically slow down your business. If you want to make sure that negative comments won’t jeopardize the sales, you need to handle poor customer feedback properly and on time. Using 10 rules that I explained in this article, it will be much easier to protect the brand’s online reputation. Make sure to use these tips and let me know in comments if you have other valuable tactics to share with our readers.