3 Ways to Combat Negative Online Reviews

3 Ways to Combat Negative Online Reviews

In the good old days there was something called word-of-mouth advertising. If you annoyed a customer, they would tell their friends,family and neighbors. If you made them happy, they might make the same rounds. Either way, they would spread the word about your company. The impact could be good or bad, but it was also limited.

These days, that same customer can do more than tell friends and family. They can jump online and instantly have a much larger voice. In fact, they can do a lot of damage to your reputation and your bottom line. The consumer has never had so much power over the business, which leaves business owners scrambling to keep up.

Let’s start by looking at some of the different places people can post an online review:

  • Yelp
  • Google Reviews & Google Places
  • Yahoo Reviews
  • Angie’s List
  • Insider pages
  • City Search

Additionally they can review you on Facebook, rant about you on Craigslist and file a report against you with the Better Business Bureau, which also gets listed online.

Each of these platforms is a place where people can talk about your company. They can say whatever they wish and you know what? There is very little you can do about it, so exactly how do you deal with negative or false online reviews?

1. Pro-actively handle unhappy customers

This is customer service 101 but it often gets ignored, so let’s start the damage control by preventing problems in the first place. Do not ignore upset clients, look for reasonable ways to turn their frowns into smiles. We know that this is not always possible, but it is a good place to start.

2. Ask happy customers for reviews
It is just human nature to be louder about things that upset you. Unhappy customers are more likely to take the time to write a negative review than are the happy ones to go sing your praises. The solution is to ask satisfied clients to write an online review. Good reviews dilutes bad ones!

3. Try to respond

Some sites give you a way to respond, even if it is just sending a message, to the reviewer. The goal here is to settle legitimate issues and then ask for an amended review. This will not always work, especially if you’re dealing with an unreasonable person, but it is worth a try!

Over all, you cannot afford to ignore online reviews. You also cannot ignore people’s ability to cause havoc with a few clicks of the mouse. These are a few ways you can control the damage and try to keep your online reputation something that helps, not hurts, your bottom line.

My belief of what an advertising agency should be providing their clients is simple. Innovation, expert advice, strategic planning, development and execution and bottom-line accountability. Our only goal is to make our clients more successful, but success in my eyes can only be judged in one aspect, revenue. At the end of the day increasing revenue is what our job is predicated on.