Dealing with Negative Business Reviews Online

Customer reviews have always been a cornerstone for businesses and their success. Positive reviews can mean an increase in customer loyalty and potentially new customers. In today’s Internet Age, reviews have become even easier to make of companies. Businesses like Yelp, Facebook, and Google, have enabled people to leave reviews of businesses easily.

The negative side of this, however, is that people can just as easily leave negative reviews of your business. These negative reviews can be hard to verify yet can still be very damaging to you and your business. Wondering how to respond to negative reviews online? Below are some ideas that can help.

What To Do

The Walmart Approach: Be Helpful with the Response

This concept comes from Tim Devaney and Tom Stein’s article that was highlighted on Forbes. After typically staying silent in response to negative reviews, Walmart began to respond to them. Walmart took the opportunity of a negative review to try and help their customers by linking relevant web pages in their response so that the customer could learn more. In essence, Walmart tried to use negative reviews to be helpful. The idea is to stay positive and to maintain a cool head. By doing this, you can still be professional with your customers and can hopefully answer some of their concerns and questions about your business.This approach works well if your company is aimed at mostly older customers, or if you have a more reserved public image. For more on this approach, check out Tim Devaney and Tom Stein’s full article.

The Wendy’s Approach: Be Playful When Customer Demands are Outrageous

There is also the much riskier Wendy’s approach, which in essence, is dissing those who negatively reviewed you. The idea behind this type of approach is that the Internet is full of “trolls” now, people who state ridiculous or outlandish things to cause reactions simply. Rather than trying to deal with obvious trolls nicely, Wendy’s Twitter account instead took the fight to them, albeit in a playful way. For an example of Wendy’s twitter banter, check out this HuffPost article on the subject. Let it be clear; this approach is not for serious customers with serious concerns or questions. If that is the case, the Walmart approach is a much better option.

What Not To Do

The CNN Approach: Don’t Be Overly Aggressive

As many of you reading are probably aware, several months ago there was a fairly large scandal that CNN went through. The scandal was a result of CNN tracking down the identity of a man who had posted a video that portrayed CNN in a negative light. Whether or not you agree with the video and what it portrayed, the fact that CNN tracked down the actual user seemed to many to be overly aggressive and intrusive. CNN’s actions received a fair amount of backlash. To read more on the subject, check out this article. Even if you disagree with your customer’s review, you should never track them down and threaten to reveal their identity to the world. This can make your company look petty and self-righteous, thus seriously damaging your business’ reputation.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with a bit of wisdom in how to manage negative reviews online. Remember: keep a cool head, answer questions and stay playful, but do not become aggressive or petty in your responses. By keeping these tips in mind, hopefully, you can better deal with negative reviews of your business online.

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