Reputation Advocate advises business owners to pay close attention to their online reviews – whether they’re posted on social media outlets like Facebook, or consumer review sites such as Google Local or Yelp. Given that there’s no regulatory group to hold authority over these sites, Reputation Advocate says business owners and managers are at risk of alienating their customers before they even walk in the door or visit the company’s website.

Business owners and managers that contact the advisors at Reputation Advocate often ask: Are online reviews really all that important? The simple answer is “yes.” According to Dimensional Research, 90 percent of customers have allowed positive online reviews to be the deciding factor when making a purchase.

When feedback is negative, you might be tempted to just swallow the criticism. Reputation Advocate recommends otherwise. We believe the best response is to address the problem. Reputation Advocate encourages business owners to adopt a proactive approach to online complaints and criticisms of your business. By carefully examining your online reviews, the team at Reputation Advocate helps your business to handle the slings and arrows of the vast digital landscape. We believe the best response is to address the problem.

How to React to a Negative Review

Handled properly, a negative review offers the perfect opportunity to showcase your company’s friendly and accommodating team. Reputation Advocate remembers the old adage: The customer is always right. When you receive a negative review online, the first step is to relax for a minute and avoid the urge to respond. The team at Reputation Advocate has seen firsthand how a little time can help determine the next course of action. Even if you believe the customer comment is false, don’t express your skepticism. When you dedicate your time and talents to the business, it can be difficult to separate yourself from the situation.

How to Respond to a Negative Review

Even if you receive a negative review, you can often spin it into a positive by engaging with the customer in a calm and constructive manner. Reputation Advocate has found that a negative review can serve as a terrific tool for improvement in daily operations. Here are a few suggestions from the team at Reputation Advocate about responding well.

  • Avoid spending too much time trying to eliminate or erase negative online content about your business.
  • Carefully collect your thoughts before crafting a reply.
  • Acknowledge the person offline and try to gather all the necessary information about the situation.
  • Be genuine and listen carefully to any concerns.
  • Gain respect by responding in a helpful and friendly way.

How to Recover from a Negative Review

While consumer review sites have experienced a great amount scrutiny due to companies that abuse their systems, Reputation Advocate recognizes their strong presence in the minds of Internet users. New York marketing firm Yodle recently presented new information about the importance of online reviews. Only half of the 300 business owners in the survey said that they believe online reviews are critical to their future prospects. About 25 percent of business owners said positive reviews are “unimportant” or “very important.” A few more statistics highlighted by the Reputation Advocate team include the following:

  • In the survey, 52 percent of business owners believe that niche-specific sites are the most important websites for displaying positive reviews. Reputation Advocate reports that Facebook, Google Plus Local and Yelp were the next three websites.
  • The study found that 87 percent of small business owners have not asked customers to write online reviews about their experiences. Of those who failed to ask for reviews, 43 percent said they just didn’t think about it.
  • Nearly 67 percent of small business owners have spent no time managing and monitoring their online reviews. Another 29 percent only spend between one and five hours each month in this important task.

The world of commerce is rapidly changing. The team at Reputation Advocate has observed the instantaneous feedback and information available through online reviews.  It’s impossible to prepare for everything possible outcome in today’s digital landscape. But in the end, Reputation Advocate has found customers are more attracted to a business when they are engaged. If you respond directly, you may change their opinion about you or your business.

At Reputation Advocate, we urge our clients to keep in touch with their audience via social media channels. By engaging in mutually beneficial relationships with customers, you can alleviate the power of negative mentions about your business online.  Contact Reputation Advocate if you feel that your current online review efforts aren’t meeting their full potential.

Want more information about Reputation Advocate? Please visit www.ReputationAdvocate.com.

Written by Aaron Kocourek

Aaron Kocourek

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