You keep your ear to the ground, so to speak, and have a Google Alert set up for your company’s name. So one morning you sit down at your desk with a cup of coffee and -ding! – you have a Google Alert. How delightful, you think, someone has written about you online.
You click the link, start reading…and your heart sinks. Oh no. It’s that guy. The customer from last week. The strange fellow who bought your product, returned it 2 days later, bought another one in a different color, returned that one and then demanded a free gift certificate “for his trouble.”
He was a handful of a customer that you were happy to refund in full and calmly wish well. But now he’s online with a megaphone telling the world all sorts of half-truths and UNtruths about your company. (You never, for instance, sent him any email at all – let alone one with “profanity” in it? You personally called him on the phone.) Sites like Yelp and CitySearch and many others allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to say whatever they want about you.
So now what do you do?
You can fight back. Here’s how.
Address it! Post a reply that calmly, clearly describes what really happened. Try not to sound defensive. Talk about the truth of that customer’s experience as if you were surrounded in your store by other, potential customers. Because online? You always are.
Secondly, if you can prove that the customer’s review is completely untrue, do so. Contact the owner (or the review department) of the site where the offending review is posted and ask them to remove it. When confronted with facts, they will often axe the fiction.
And finally – drown out the bad with the good. If your thrilled customers are online posting great review after great review, the bad ones will lose their credibility. And how will they do that?
They do that for one simple reason: because you ask them to! At every turn, talk to your clearly happy customers and ask them to take a minute to post a review online. But don’t be shy -ask!Note: Some of the review sites specifically prohibit soliciting only positive reviews or rewarding only positive reviews – be sure to read the Terms of Service (TOS).
What experiences have you had with combating negative reviews? Let me know by commenting below. And don’t forget to Like, Tweet, and Pin this post!