THIS IS A 4-PART SMALL BUSINESS SERIES
How to Respond to Negative Reviews Online
Receiving a negative review on a site like Yelp or Local.com means that people who utilize your services or products are active on that site. So you need to be active as well and not ignore the issue because that bad review will be there as long as the site is there.
Almost all local review sites give the owner a space to publicly respond to reviews. Google Places, Yahoo Local, Trip Advisor, Yelp, Insider Pages, Merchant Circle, and SuperPages all allow responses and most of these will allow owners to edit and delete reviews (except for Yelp which seems to stay in litigation about this very issue) so reach out to customer service on these sites and see what exactly they can do to help you with a negative review.
Previously in “Responding to Negative Reviews Online – Small Business Tips Part 1” we spoke about the reactionary steps your business can take to combat negative reviews on local review and rating sites. Now we will address what you can do to set your business up for success and avoid negative reviews when dealing with customer review websites.
PART 4 – COMBATTING NEGATIVE REVIEWS ONLINE
7. Register or Claim Your Businesses: Take ownership of your business pages if they have already been created on sites. This allows you to have quick notification of comments as well as advertise your services ensuring your page has the correct hours, physical address, website and phone numbers. A previous blog, “Real Estate Agents Pay Attention – Yelp Tips for Gaining New Clients” has information on setting up a business for marketing success on Yelp.
If someone goes to the Local.com, Merchant Circle, or Insider Pages websites in your city, looking for what your business provides, do you pop up in the listing? Even with no reviews, this is free advertising for your business. Additionally many of these sites let you offer coupons or purchase sponsored placement where your business pops up first no matter your ranking in customer satisfaction.
8. Review Other Pages: There is a real good chance there is at least one other company out there that is providing the same services and products that you provide (even if yours are infinitely better). Search for these companies the same way a customer would search for your type of business on a review site. Make note of what customers feel your competitors are doing right and doing wrong. Try implementing winning components into your products or services. And also study how your business is set up to avoid the mistakes that other business have made.
9. Avoid Complaints: This no-brainer isn’t the number one tactic to combatting negative reviews but it should be. Know the experience your prospects and customers are getting from your employees at every stage of your businesses sales cycle. Do you have an employee handbook that details your businesses expectations and guidelines? Can you provide your managers, customer service agents and client-facing employees with written instructions and scripts to utilize when dealing with dissatisfied customers directly?
Customer Service Management is just one part of Reputation Management but it is the part business owners have the most control over. Use online and in-store reviews to find areas of improvement and areas of celebration in your customer service.
10. Consider Getting Help: There are many Reputation Management solutions out there and they range in price and services, and sometimes you just want to call in the experts. Search for a company that analyzes your current reputation and develops a plan to improve it. They should also monitor where your name shows up online, and use SEO, positive reviews and other marketing tactics to improve your ranking in search engines. I’ve seen plans from $100 a month to $1500 a month so you really can find a plan to fit your budget when considering the money saved by freeing your time from monitoring your online reputation and the avoid loss of revenue from a bad online reputation.
What else would you like to know about Reputation Management? Leave a comment.