You have worked hard for your business’ reputation, but lo and behold, you received a bad online review. It happens. In fact, it happens to the best of businesses. You will never make everyone happy no matter what you do. My grandma used to say, “If you gave some people a bag full of money, they would complain about the bag it came in.” It is hard to accept as a business owner that we couldn’t make a customer happy, but sometimes it just isn’t going to happen. Have you ever had the general rule of thumb that if a customer is happy with your business they will tell one to three people, but if they are not they will tell 10? These days that 10 turns into 10,000 in about one minute flat. Reviews are a powerful tool to consumers. I use them often to determine if I am going to purchase a product, stay at a certain hotel or do business in general with a company. I also read more than one and I try to weigh the negative and the positive reviews to see if the one or two negatives are those people that wouldn’t be happy anyway. Unfortunately, many consumers see a bad review and take it at face value. In addition, reviews are a part of Google’s search algorithm and it pulls not just Google reviews, but also Facebook, Yelp and others. Therefore, depending on how many reviews you have, one bad review could cause your ratings to plummet. That is why it is imperative to continually ask good customers to review you online. Think of it like this, you have four great reviews and get one bad, the one bad equals 20% of your reviews. Now, if you have 99 great reviews and get one bad review that is only equal to 1%.

Here are a few easy ways to handle bad reviews:

Step 1:  Do not panic and respond in a way you will regret later. Think before you type. It is always best to think your response through before firing back an emotionally charged answer. Think of it as if the customer were standing right in front of you. You wouldn’t immediately respond back without trying to figure out what the root cause of their complaint is. The way you handle bad reviews can often win customers over. The hotel industry is great at responding to bad reviews. Take this review of a Marriott hotel for example:

PIC Step 2: Determine if the review is real or fake. Moneyish.com published an article about spotting bad reviews. Here are a few of their suggestions. Click the link to read the entire article:

  • First, determine if the reviewer is or was ever a customer.
  • Next, they suggest looking at the timing of the reviews. Is there a spike in a very short time frame? If so, they may be fake.
  • Look for the overuse of “I” and “me” and many verbs. They cited a study from Cornell University stating that reviews that frequently use these words are more likely to be fake than those that don’t.
  • Scene setting is another sign of a fake review. They say that truthful reviews most often use concrete works like the ‘bathroom’ or ‘price’. Scene-setters are basically setting the stage to draw the reader in.

Moreover, if a review is fraudulent, flag it and/or report it as such.

Step 3:  Respond quickly. This shows potential customers that you are in fact trying to maintain relationships with customers (bad and good). Additionally, it allows potential customers reading the reviews to hear both sides of the story rather than getting the one bad side. Even if the review is believed to be fake, respond anyway. Potential customers don’t know the review is fake, so they are reading it as any other bad review.

When responding it is best to use the following format and a standard format makes it easier to maintain your composure. Take the hotel example from above, they have a standard format, yet it is personalized to each customer’s experience.

  • Address the complaint and own up to it. There is nothing worse than someone that can’t just own up to a mistake.
  • Never make excuses. OK, there is something worse than not admitting to a mistake, making excuses for a mistake.
  • Tell your customer what you are going to do about the poor product or service. In the hotel example, the reviewer was complaining about the music. The GM stated it was based on hotel policies, but would revisit the policy.

Negative reviews don’t have to be the end of a great reputation if handled properly. Contact CyberSpyder at (479) 782-0005 today to help you get more quality reviews and help you monitor your reviews so you can respond accordingly. CyberSpyder will also monitor your reviews to help spot the fake ones, report them and stay on top of them to make sure they are flagged or removed. Let CyberSpyder help you maintain your online reputation.

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