How Brands Can Protect Their Reputation Against Negative Reviews?

How-brands-can-protect-their-reputation-against-negative-reviews

Dealing with bad reviews is easy as long as you control the conversation. While you can’t undo the damage, you can always offer to make the situation right, and showcase your excellent customer service skills to lure more prospects.

As the world is becoming increasingly virtual and people have more outlets for letting out their frustrations and dissatisfaction than ever. While some websites are doing a commendable job at letting people post authentic reviews, no business is immune to negative reviews, especially on the sites with no authenticity. Every brand is improving in some area and it’s indeed tough to maintain consistency. But does this mean you should let one bad review tarnish your reputation and turn your future prospects away?

Fret not if you have a dissatisfied customer posting a bad review for your brand on Yelp, Google, Brightlocal or anywhere else. Here’s a simple plan of action you should focus on:

Respond

As a business, it’s best that you make peace with the fact that feedback, positive or negative will always pour in. While you can’t control what sort of negative feedback goes online about you, you can control how to react.

Before you even begin reacting to the negative reviews, start claiming profiles for your business. So many times, there are multiple profiles matches with your brand name (including the fake ones), creating confusion for customers and you, both. Claim the right profiles to these platforms, so customers can figure out where to post the review.

Now, you don’t have to necessarily focus on negative reviews. Instead, be polite and display your gratitude to the customers posting positive reviews with thanks. Then, find the negative reviews and if you see a genuine case that deserves genuine consideration from your brand/business, respond to it.

Experts recommend that you respond to the reviews within 24-48 hours. It’s a good practice to show that you value customer opinions, and the brand is active. Remember to think your response through as you may get caught up in the heat of the moment.

Take some time, read and reread the negative review or the complaint and investigate the entire matter from your team. Once, you are convinced, dive deep and respond. If you don’t have the time to do your research, make sure that you respond and maintain a polite and a neutral tone. Don’t forget to mention that you are indeed on the case and will be pursuing the issue with the team and update the client about your findings.

Always say thanks

The golden rule of online reputation management is staying grateful. When you respond publicly to a review or even in private, you risk getting exposed to millions of people who will judge your response. No matter how harsh the review is, make sure that you remain polite. Say Thank You in every situation, appreciate the customer for spending their valuable time to help you improve.

Be very careful about responding to rants because responding to a cocktail of really angry words won’t do you much favor and highlight the review too.

Make it right

If the situation is bad and you see a very disappointed customer, consider apologizing for the inconvenience, and offer a solution. For instance, if a dissatisfied customer posts about the overcooked pizza he had last night, offer an apology and serve a better pizza (maybe a bigger) for free. Dealing with reviews is a lot like handling public relations. While it’s not about pleasing people, it’s about letting people and your customers, even the dissatisfied ones that you indeed care about their experience.

Judge how intense or critical the situation is and once you have assessed the damage it can cause, consider a solution and offer it. Ensure that you respond to your customers as soon as possible so they can always consider the solution being offered.

The method of responding

Once you notice a negative review on a website or on Google or on Social Media, don’t just respond directly. The more responses to a review, the more exposure it will receive. When the massacre of comments takes place, you have no control over the conversation or the reaction of customers. So, if you see a situation that may go out of hands, ensure that you talk to the customer who wrote the review through private messages.

The important thing not to forget is – You never miss to respond in that social media review that the problem is solved now. Many brands do handle heated situation mindfully and take it to personal messages, but they completely miss out to reply that the problem is handled. Remember,  other customers are still going to witness these reviews!

What if it’s a fake review?

A fake review could be from a troll/spammer or even your competitors. In fact, almost 20% of Yelp reviews aren’t real and written using spammy/fake accounts. Sadly though, Yelp and few other review websites display the negative reviews prominently so they affect your prospects the most.

The only rule that you need to remember when dealing with a fake review is that You don’t need to respond to a fake review because sometimes, silence indeed is golden.

However, if you do spot a fake review, you should flag it and use a legitimate reason. Moreover, get all of your friends and acquaintances to flag the review and use the same reason as you did. Consistency in the reason given for flagging the review will send the right signals to the website the review has been posted on. Getting the fake review spammed collectively for the same reason over and over again will surely make the website consider taking it down.

Dealing with extremely angry and ranting customers

You don’t need to respond to a customer ranting about your bad service in ALL CAPS either. A review in all caps or a review that’s making no sense at all was possibly written in an emotional rush and the customer may not even be keen to deal with you!

However, determine the legitimacy of the review and whether the rant is worth responding to or not. Responding to such a scathing review publically is definitely not the wisest decision because you never know how the customer would react. However, you can always connect with them and figure out polite ways of dealing with the situation.

The reason why you shouldn’t respond to such a rant is that your response will only make it more prominent on a particular website and on Google bringing it more attention ever. Moreover, it will be particularly hard to control the reaction. But you can always do “damage-control” via private messages. Reply on after the customer is satisfied with the solution.

Dealing with trolls

Plenty of websites and brands face trolling on social media and on other websites but unless you have a brilliant sense of humor, don’t approach them. In fact, they may blow up so big that you may face a hard time sorting the whole scene. The best way of dealing with bullies and trolls is by retaining a crazy sense of humor and not caving in.

Summing up

A bad review can turn a healthy prospect away so don’t let the negative reviews crush your sales prospects and decrease that graph! We hope the techniques mentioned in this article will help you deal with negative reviews more mindfully.

About the Author

Vishal Vivek

Vishal Vivek

Vishal Vivek is the co-founder and CEO of a well known Indian Digital Marketing, Web Design and Social Media Marketing Company, SEO Corporation. From being an insomniac workaholic spending nights in the office to take risky vacations in the Himalayas, Vishal has done it all and excelled at it. When he’s not reading corporate writing and organized crime novels, he’s usually found petting random stray animals

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