Marketing PSA: Always Respond to Negative Reviews

Two characters talk over a negative review.

No one likes hearing negative things about their company, especially in the form of reviews on highly trafficked sites. It can be as easy to ignore them as not to search for them in the first place. But that’s a mistake. We live in a world where consumer options are growing each day, from global online stores to universal restaurant delivery. One of the critical points of comparison alongside pricing and visuals will be business and product reviews. Bad reviews will lose you leads, and so here is your marketing PSA: always respond to negative reviews.

Part 1: You Don’t Get to Pick Where Reviews Are Left

You might have a preferred platform to engage with reviews on, but customers – especially angry customers – are going to leave reviews on the platform they prefer. It’s important that you find (and in some places, claim) the websites reviews are being left on. Here are the big four:

  • Yelp: This website has one purpose, so reviewers can have big sway when they leave negative reviews. If you’ve never been on Yelp, chances are your business has, as pages are auto-generated. Claim your page and get familiar with the business side of Yelp.
  • Facebook: It’s easy to dismiss Facebook as just a social media platform, but it has become deeply integrated into online presence – whether you like it or not. With the overhauled UI for Facebook for Businesses, you might have trouble finding reviews: here’s where to look.
  • Google: It’s easy to forget how deeply integrated Google is in our lives and how the search and map functions are intertwined with businesses and their reviews. Like with Yelp, you may need to claim your Google Listing before you can manage your listing and reviews.
  • BBB: The Better Business Bureau has been around for so long, many don’t realize it’s a private company. However, especially with professional service companies, having BBB complaints can be a big problem. While you don’t need to be accredited, you do need to monitor your page.

Part 2: Reviews are a Form of Engagement – Always Engage

Online marketing, at its best, is a form of positive communication. It’s not just a brand posting a funny social media status: it’s responding to the responses. It’s essential to treat reviews like this as well. While this blog mainly focuses on the dos and don’ts of responding to negative reviews, you should respond to all reviews – even the good ones. Saying “you’re welcome” when thanked can be just as powerful in showing you care as saying “we’re sorry” when someone’s not happy.

Read more about these concepts in these two companion blogs, Reputation Management: Who Reviews the Reviews? and Should I Respond to Yelp Reviews?

Part 3: Don’t Respond to Negative Reviews Negatively

As we’ve mentioned above, you should always respond to negative reviews. However, responding to negative reviews is tough as emotions run high – both for the reviewer who had the bad experience and you who just had your business attacked. Here’s how to get through it:

  • Be Polite and Diplomatic. Getting into a fight with someone over a bad review is not going to improve your image or their review.
  • It’s Okay to Say Sorry. “We’re sorry you had that experience with us” is a fine way to start the conversation. Stay positive.
  • Start a Conversation and Take It Private. Tell them you want to know more about the problem and reach out to them privately.
  • Know When to Stop. There are going to be exceptions and limits to resolving the issues. If you’ve got a client who was angry with a mask policy, caving in will just do more damage.

Reputation management can be a challenge, especially when it comes to responding to a crisis or keeping track of your online presence. However, you don’t have to do it alone. Vision Advertising has been supporting businesses, from restaurants to manufacturers, for over 20 years with everything from business coaching to social media brand management. Contact us to find out if we’re the right fit for your business.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by background, Alex writes “content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to website copy and beyond. In addition, as Senior Brand Strategist, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision, manages multiple client projects, and herds many meetings. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, reads a copious amount of fiction, plays video games, and an enthusiastic chef at home. He’s trying to become a better plant daddy.

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