Google My Business provides businesses a chance to engage in an open conversation with their customers. The review and reply feature of GMB had become crucial for businesses as they are able to cultivate lasting relationships and loyalty with the customers through it. By taking advantage of Google My Business and interact with their customers by responding strategically to the reviews can help businesses to shape the image of their brand in the eyes of their current and even future customers.
The proprietor’s response to the reviews establishes their credibility and authority, which in return provide a sense of security to the customers that play a key role in choosing what company they should be associated with.
The reviews received by your online services are always a territory. It shows that customers trust you enough to let you know their feedback about your services and most of the time they suggest ways for you to improve your services as per your customer satisfaction. The sad part is no matter how hard to strive or how well you handle your business and took care of customer’s satisfaction, negative reviews are inevitable. And if you thought the bullies were bad back in high school, you haven’t seen anything yet!
Online bullies are the worst, especially when they’re picking on your brand. And if you don’t know how to respond, things can get ugly in a hurry. If you’re not sure how to handle online bullies and respond to negative online reviews, the following tips should help.
Tips to Handle a Negative Review
- Pay special attention to the reviews
In school, you couldn’t miss a bully; intimidation was a face-to-face affair. But online bullies often go completely unnoticed by small business owners who aren’t monitoring their online reviews. If you want to nip negative online reviews in the bud, you have to claim your online profiles, monitor the conversation, and respond rationally. That means maintaining a constant presence on Yelp, Google, and any industry-specific sites where your business can get reviewed.
- Decide whether a response is necessary or not
When you see a negative online review, your first impulse is to let the world know why the reviewer is wrong. But that’s not always the best idea. Instead, take a moment to breathe and think it over. Does your critic have a legitimate complaint, or are they just another online bully?
If the client’s concerns are genuine, by all means, respond. Take responsibility for your part in the problem, offer a sincere apology, and try to start the healing process. By correcting the situation, you not only earn the respect of the reviewer, but you also show future prospects, who will read the review later, that you care about your customers.
But keep in mind, not every negative online review deserves a response. If you have an anonymous user screaming at you in ALL CAPS and making little to no sense in the process, then it’s better to not respond to them.
- Do Your Homework
Depending on your business and the amount of information provided by the reviewer, you may be able to research the exact transaction before responding. If possible, search your records and speak with your colleagues about what occurred before crafting a response to the online review. This will allow you to address specifics, show that you’re a hands-on business owner, and hopefully make it easier to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.
- Decide How to Respond
You really have two options — respond directly to the review online, or try to take a more personal offline approach. Both options have their pros and cons.
Public responses put your customer service skills on display. The idea here isn’t to win an argument but, rather, to rectify a bad situation, change the reviewer’s perception and further build your online reputation. If it becomes clear they actually want to be helped, it may be best to let them have the last word and walk away.
Private responses (via direct message on the review site, email or phone call) don’t get the attention of public responses, but they’re more personal and give you a chance to connect with the customer in a way public responses don’t. And if you do happen to reach a resolution offline, don’t forget to ask them to update their review to reflect the new status of the situation. That way, future readers will see that the issue was taken care of and the customer is now satisfied.
- Respond ASAP
Be thoughtful and do your research, but remember: Negative online reviews should be handled quickly. Whether you’re dealing with an online bully or just a disappointed customer who has let his anger get the best of him, you don’t want to leave them to stew. It’s best to confront the issue early, otherwise, the ranting and raving may continue or even go viral, which can wreak havoc on your reputation online.