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Taking the bad with the good.  Why you should encourage online customer reviews.

An ongoing series of informational entries

Taking the bad with the good....Why you should encourage online customer reviews

June 12, 2018

I recall a few years back having quite an in-depth conversation with a company owner about getting his business on social media.


His response was “why would I want to open the door to have anyone who doesn’t like me or my company write negative things where everyone can see it?” To which I replied, “Just because they’re not writing it on social media doesn't mean that they aren’t saying it at other places”. I went on to explain that “opening that door” would be a prime opportunity for him to address those comments right from the owner.

There’s no doubt that the Internet has changed how we do business and having negative comments about your business displayed publicly can be challenging, but it will eventually help improve your business.

Nobody likes to see a bad review about their business and there are times where you simply can’t please everyone, but reviews allow you to see trends and identify areas for improvement. Why would you want to continue to do something customers don’t like? If no one tells you about it, how would you know to change it? Opening that door for reviews allows you to have one-on-one interaction with customers.


When people comment online about a bad experience, they are often in the moment. They are angry, they are frustrated and maybe they even feel like they’ve been ripped off. They comment online because they want to be heard, and through a short series of conversations often you will be able to fix it and turn that negative experience around.


As quickly as we tend to complain about a business, I believe when the experience is a positive one, we tend to praise them just as often, especially if you were able to turn an unhappy customer into a happier one.

When my clients ask me about how to handle negative reviews online, I offer this advice:


1. Unless the comment is threatening, offensive, racist, or belligerent, do not remove it or block the person commenting. Deleting the comment or blocking them will often anger them even more and make it worse.


2. Respond to the comment publicly and it a timely manner, so others can see that you take the feedback seriously and that you are willing to hear them out and try to make it right.


3. Address the concern, then immediately take it off-line. Don’t ask for details to be shared publicly. Provide them with an email or phone number they can reach out to you or ask for their contact info so you can reach out to them.

“I’m sorry to hear you did not have a good experience” Is there a number or email we can reach you at to find out more about this situation, or can you call us at this number and ask to speak to Laura.”


4. When you do get the details and if it’s something you can change, let them know that. Then thank them for taking the time to provide feedback about their experience and encourage them to continue to be a customer.

“I just wanted to let you know, we have made the change on our website so that there is no more confusion about that offer. Thank you for taking the time to let us know, we hope to see you again soon. Is there anything else we can assist you with?"


Being proactive when it comes to online reviews not only strengthens your brand and your customer relationships, but it also identifies areas where your business can do better. After all, as business owners isn’t continuous improvement something we all strive for?