No business owner wants to read a bad review about his or her company, but sometimes it happens. What should you do? You certainly want to protect your reputation, but overreacting to a negative testimonial or review could do more harm than good.
First of all, consider the source and the platform. If the site is reputable and has high traffic, like Houzz, you’ll want to make plans to handle the situation without delay. Chances are someone will see it. On the other hand, there are sites and reviews with little or no traffic, so take that into consideration. It may lessen the blow.
Then ask yourself if the review is true or fake? You will want to respond in a timely manner but thoughtfully and without sounding defensive. If the review is a definite fake – never used your product or services – you can flag it for removal with most sites like Google, Facebook, Angie’s List and Yelp.
Even if the review is fraudulent, address the complaint and say that you’re sorry that their experience was less than satisfactory. You can mention that you do not have a record of them being a client or lead or having visited your company, but offer a way for them to contact you if they want to continue the conversation. Stay open and friendly. The reason for this is that until the fake review is removed, or in case it never is, you want to give someone else reading the review a positive impression about the way you handle disagreements.
But if there is some truth to review, it’s time to take stock of what’s happening within your company. Again, address the complaint and be honest in your response. Humility goes a long way toward soothing ruffled feathers. If you’ve offered a remedy, make sure it happens. Once in a while, it takes an outside perspective to show you where you might need to make changes. Let yourself learn from this painful experience.
Be brief and tactful in your response, either online, in an email or a phone call. If you know the person who wrote the review, a more personal response, offline, is appropriate. Most of all, show that you care about the reviewer and your company.
Finally, a good review can counter a bad one. Make sure that you are gathering positive reviews and testimonials on a consistent basis.
Cheryl SavitSavvy Wordscheryl@savvywords.com617-962-1564