Responding To Negative Online Comments About Your Business

With billions of people around the world enjoying internet access, the last thing a business owner or manager wants to see or hear about is a negative review online. Yet because most businesses will make mistakes from time to time, there is certain to be negative feedback at some point.

So the age old question isn’t what happened, but what will you do about it to help regain the reputation that you had before a negative comment impacted your business?

Here are some ideas that can help you respond successfully if you find yourself in this situation:

Find The Source Of The Negative News

Most of the time, it isn’t that hard to find where people are reading negative things about your company. Both Google and Yelp offer areas for customers to provide feedback on their business experience. On the other hand, researchers recently discovered that groups that are hiring themselves out to the highest bidder are stockpiling negative information about companies and people on the internet in an area known as ‘dark’. They make money by helping to run negative campaigns. If you have trouble finding the source of the news on traditional sites, then there is a possibility that it is available there. If that is the case, it actually shouldn’t be that much of a problem because most customers will become aware of a negative experience only when it is online and in front of them.

Come Up With A Strategy For Handling The Problem

Business owners and managers are very adept at understanding the pulse of their market. When there is a problem review, however, it can incite passions that get in the way of clearly interpreting how an audience will react to what is said or written. It is therefore a pretty good idea to always have a company ‘way’ of dealing with customer service and production issues. If an issue is particularly acute, discussing a response in advance is a good way of getting impressions from those around you. One of the most common approaches is to use the ‘Feel, Felt, Found’ strategy. When you use this strategy, you put yourself in the customer’s shoes before offering a solution or a change or an explanation as to why things happened the way that they did.

Make Changes Online

Once you know how you will respond, you can get involved with the website that has negative information about you. Typically this means creating posts that allow you to clarify the situation and offer a solution if appropriate. You should always factor in competition, however, before you respond because there are plenty of people who try to make a living by writing negative comments about a company without having any basis for actually making the complaint. Companies that do business online are more exposed to this type of activity. There are even situations where you may discover that your customer was hired to ‘have a bad’ experience in order to be able to legitimately complain. This type of customer will then typically try and rebuff traditional customer service attempts to try and correct any problem that you had.

Fortunately, that type of experience is pretty rare as it hasn’t actually been proven to work. Customers that research companies online are also quite savvy when it comes to filtering out negative comments that appear suspicious.

When you do respond to people, although you may have a strategy, it is good to keep an open mind. If their discomfort is legitimate, it can help to think of any financial remedy or free service that you provide them with as marketing money because giving them better service the next time around is one way that may cause them to alter their negative opinion. Of course you don’t want to look like a pushover, but most customers respond really positively to a business owner or manager that admits that their company was human and made a mistake. It tends to put them at ease with the notion of doing business with you since they know that if they have a problem with you, they will not just be pushed to the curb.

Negative online comments are a way of life for consumers and the companies that host a service that allows for positive and negative feedback continue to grow. Learning to handle negative comments and training your workers to do so as well can make a large difference in how your company image is viewed through the lens of the potential online customer.

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SMBReviews is committed to providing small and mid-sized business owners with the information and resources they need to select the best service or product for their company.

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