Protect Your Online Reputation

People are talking online--what are they saying about your business?

It’s great to get reviews—especially positive comments. But what if the rare disgruntled customer leaves a not-so-positive review online?

There are three options for dealing with negative feedback:

1. Ignore it

2. Tell the customer that he’s wrong

3. Encourage a dialogue and take the discussion offline

It’s pretty obvious that the first two options are not going to ‘win friends and influence people’. The third option is the best way to put out smoldering resentments before they turn into a wildfire of negative criticism.

Depending on the platform, you may be able to address the problem online. If you can’t respond online, it’s mandatory that you try to discover the identity of the unhappy customer and contact her to make the situation right.

When responding to a negative review online—for example: Angie’s List offers the opportunity to respond to all reviews—be sure to ask the customer to contact you so that you can make the situation right. As far as your response to the customer in the public arena it’s paramount to be respectful to the customer’s opinion. No matter how wrong you know the customer is about the situation, remember that other prospects are reading the review and if you come out swinging, your harsh words are bound to come back and hit you in the face. Once anything is put on the Internet, it’s like it’s carved in stone—it’s there forever in some form or another, so be impeccable with your words.

After you have corrected the situation, be sure to ask the customer to revamp the review to include the way you addressed their concerns.

That’s probably the easy part—correcting mistakes. The hardest part is finding those less than positive comments about your business. One way to see what people are writing about your business is by setting up Google Alerts for your company name, products and keywords.  There’s a Facebook app that will do the same for Facebook posts and comments here HyperAlerts.

There are companies that work to push those noxious comments down in the search engine results, but taking care of your own Online Reputation Management (ORM) is undoubtedly the best way to find out what your customers are saying about your company while giving you the opportunity to put a positive spin on your customer service that the whole world can see.

How have you dealt with reviews or online comments about your business?


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