One of the greatest parts of the internet is that we often have the freedom to express our opinions and can interact with businesses, organizations, or individuals. This freedom can also be a disadvantage however, when the opinions people are expressing about your company are negative. Finding out that people have been saying bad things about your company on the Internet can be heartbreaking, and these negative reviews and comments can have a serious effect on your reputation. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to stop the damage before things get out of hand and your reputation is completely tarnished.
Be Honest About the Issue
Although it can be hard to look at your company in a negative way, try to look at things from the eyes of the negative reviewer. If your company did somehow earn the negative review, you should do what you can to make internal changes to ensure that such issues do not arise again. Even if you don’t agree completely with the negative review, do what you can to make sure that you don’t get similar complaints in the future. Your first reaction to negative views will probably be to take offense or be defensive, but take the time to put your personal feelings aside and view the problem from an outsider’s perspective.
Another one of your first instincts might be to argue with the reviewer, but this is one of the worst things that you can do. Instead, you should apologize in the best way possible and let your customer know that you are sorry that he or she had a problem. This can help you mend your relationship with the customer, and it can show others that you and your business aren’t too proud to apologize if you are wrong or make someone unhappy, which can be the beginning of repairing your reputation. Even if the reviewer is in the wrong, there is a way to politely correct them and gracefully apologize for something that you didn’t do, or something that isn’t your fault. If they are in the wrong, make sure to clear the air, but always be kind—never try to embarrass the reviewer or belittle them.
Try to Fix the Problem
If you can, ask the reviewer if there is something that you can do to fix the issue. For example, you might be able to look into things a little more, or you could offer the customer a replacement, refund or gift certificate for a future purchase. By communicating with the reviewer, you can find out what you can do to make the situation better and to make him or her happy. Not only can you win back a customer this way, but he or she might even offer to remove or edit the review.
Get Professional Help
If you are not able to monitor your comments and complaints online due to lack of time or personnel to do this job, you can always outsource this work. You can manage your online reputation with OrangeSoda.com or similar marketing firms if you don’t know how best to respond to bad reviews, or if you simply don’t have the time to do so. Find a marketing firm that will assess your company’s reputation issue and work hard to remedy it so that people who look for information about your business online won’t come across these negative things.
Dealing with a bad reputation can be a sticky situation, but following these simple tips can help you fix things before your reputation becomes too negative. That is why it is of the utmost importance that you are monitoring your comments and reviews online. If you aren’t speaking up for your company and setting the record straight, others may run wild with stories that aren’t true, and their anger will just become more widespread on the web. Responding to bad reviews can be a delicate situation, however, remember that most importantly—you must respond!