The negative review – every online business owners heart-thumping, middle-of-the-night, cold-sweat-inducing nightmare. Okay maybe not that bad, but to be honest hearing anything negative about your business tends to set one on edge, I know it does me and that’s usually on my clients’ behalf, not my own!
I thought a few tips on handling a negative review in the online space would be handy to all of our readers. I find that most owners are reluctant to say anything back to negative reviews. The thing is – the negative reviewer is YEARNING for you to get involved, to tell them you’re “really sorry” and you hope they’ll “try again”.
Not only is the negative reviewer looking for that – the future shopper that reads that review is looking for the interaction and the reassurance that you’ve fixed the problem. If you don’t tell them you have fixed it – how will they know?
My number one rule for managing a negative review? Fix it or nobody will forget it! If it’s broken, fix it. If it’s shabby, replace it. If an employee is rude (on a consistent and repeated basis,) replace them.
- Acknowledge the problem, give out your personal email address and invite the reviewer to contact you directly to address their concerns. Let the others that read that review know you’re willing to do whatever it takes to “make it right.”
- Use the negative review as a tool to educatefuture shoppers. If someone is upset because the vacation rental didn’t house 8 people comfortably – take the opportinity to respond, apologize for their inconvenience, and remind them that the house was only rated to fit 4 comfortably.
Andy Beal – blogger at MarketingPilgrim.com, author of Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online, and founder of Trackur.com talked about a great example of managing reviews in his recent article: Advice for Managing Negative Reviews of Hotels or Small Businesses. ResortQuest Waikiki thanks EVERY reviewer for leaving a review and responds to negative aspects of any review with a personal message.
I’ve got my copy of Beal’s book on order, I’ll be posting a book review when I’m finished with it!
Ignore it. Like most things in life, ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. Dig in and get it fixed – then let others know it has been fixed.
- Be Antagonistic. Nothing looks worse than an owner attacking a guest for a less than accurate complaint. You aren’t going to change their mind by attacking them. Instead apologize and let them know you don’t do business that way and maybe point out the 10 other positive reviews to the readers of your response.
Think about negative reviews as an opportunity to engage your audience, to show them how much you care about their vacation, trip or getaway. Without that interaction, your online presence is pretty 1.0 – and 1.0 is about 4-years ago. Move into Web 2.0 & 3.0 by striking up a conversation online.