Once your business is established, there will come a time where you will start receiving reviews or comments online about your business and the products or services that you offer.
Unfortunately not all of these comments or reviews will be in your favour, some may even be skewed or completely false. Here is Undergrnd Marketing's guide to handling these negative reviews in the local way, the Perth way.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when responding to reviews is only reading the review once and firing off a quick response. This is always dangerous, as the aim of a response is to dispel any of the negativity and to answer any of the questions in the comments of the writer. If you manage to write something that doesn't answer the question or addresses the issue in their review/comment then you end up doing more damage.Always read the review then walk away and read it again. Remember, read with a clear and neutral mind so you don't come across as angry or displeased in your response. Sometimes it is useful to get someone else to read the comment or review to see their opinion on it, as after all these negative comments can often feel like a personal attack (even though they are not meant to be).
In the case of a serious complaint, always write with a neutral yet helpful tone, as the reviewer may still be angry with your business and it never helps when you re-ignite their anger. Remember to stay positive and always remind them that you are working on fixing the problem for them or that they have been heard loud and clear. After all, Perth is a tight-knit community and if you stay positive, tides can turn.
Sometimes complaints or bad reviews are so tricky it's best to just speak to the person directly. Try to get the person's contact details sent to you via a Private or Direct Message (even get them to email you) so you can call them directly. Allowing the customer to discuss their complaint with you over the phone or via email will let you respond in a more informative way, as you are able to get additional details and discuss names of employees etc.
Once the issue has been resolved, you are always welcome to ask them to remove their review, or you are welcome to post a comment on their review similar to; "I'm so glad we got to discuss your review in more detail, thank you XXXX for taking the time to chat with us. We are glad we got to fix this issue for you".
Your employees, co-workers or customers would most likely prefer to not be named in any of your responses as well as any bad reviews. It is always best practice to avoid doing so. Many review sites already mention this as part of their site-rules, so you should be safe on most accounts, but be ready to report complaints/reviews that directly name you or your staff, as it can be deemed as defamation of character.
Negative reviews can cost businesses a tonne of business. If your business is drumming up bad reviews it can spell bad news for your customer flow. Therefore, what may seem like an overdo at the time, it's always in your best interest to have your customers walking away with a smile. For example, if you are a cafe and receive a bad review for terrible coffee, then invite the reviewer back for a free coffee. Reminder - point 4 comes in handy here, as people love freebies, so ensure you give away freebies via private messages not publicly.
There is nothing worse than a negative review sitting there unanswered. As many negative reviews or complaints come at random hours of the day, quite often they can come around outside of business hours. This can mean hundreds to thousands of people can read these reviews about your business without you getting a chance to respond. If you do respond quickly, you can save face and avoid letting the fire spread.
Monitoring and responding to reviews and complaints can sometimes become too much to bear. Due to the nature of reviews and complaints, you never know when they will appear and sometimes it becomes too time consuming. External monitoring service's allow businesses to focus on growing their business while the online battles are being fought.