You spend your days working hard to make your small business successful and things are going well... Then one day a customer comes in and asks you about a negative review they saw online for your business. You are shocked! How could your company have gotten a negative review?
49 percent of consumers state that they are more likely to visit a business after reading a positive online review, and 69 percent trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. A negative review can certainly hurt your sales!
Developing a strategy in advance to deal with a negative business review will help your company mitigate any damage that may come from the review. A negative review on Yelp, Google Places or Citysearch is bound to happen to any business that interacts with the public on a daily basis!
Negative Review StrategyThe first thing that you need to do is set up a Google Alert for your business name so that you are notified whenever anything about your business is posted online. It's totally free and easy to set up. Just go to http://www.google.com/alerts. You'll automatically get an email delivered to you whenever your business name shows up online and you will be able to respond immediately to any negative reviews.
AND YOU SHOULD RESPOND IMMEDIATELY!
A simple, professional response asking the reviewer to contact you personally to resolve the issue will go a long way. When the reviewer does reach out to you, handle their complaint offline. Kill them with kindness and do everything you can to make things right! 34% of negative reviews are removed from the sight after the company responds, so let that be your goal!
Don't ever lash out at the reviewer or be negative in any way. Your response is permanent and public! If you have worked with the customer already to resolve the issue and they still posted the negative review, a professional response listing all of the things that your company did to resolve the issue will show others that you did what you could to make things right. Someone reading that negative review and your response may be impressed with the amount of work that you did to please your customer - turning that negative into a positive!
Be ProactiveIf you have an angry customer, try to deal with them before things get out of hand. Even if they are being difficult to work with, (ESPECIALLY if they are being difficult) do everything you can to make the customer feel good about their interaction with your company! Preventing a negative review is easier than trying to deal with one after the fact!
Another way to be proactive is to ask your really good customers to provide their positive feedback on some of the big review websites. When you receive a compliment from a customer, ask them to do you a favor and post their comments online!
Images courtesy of David Castillo Dominici