A recent study found that seven out of ten Americans believe it is important to post online reviews about local businesses. Word of mouth once helped businesses gain family and friend referrals, now a bad online review can destroy a business. http://www.adweek.com/prnewser/study-majority-of-consumers-feel-leveraging-online-reviews-is-key-to-brand-image/115063
“Before the internet, customers who had a great experience with a business would tell a neighbor over the backyard fence. Friends shared restaurant suggestions,” wrote Lida Citroen for Entrepreneur. “Today, in contrast, customers are handed a megaphone — in the form of review sites — where they can share that same referral, compliment or criticism, not with one friend at a time but with thousands of people they have never met.” http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245308
With 70 per cent of the population posting online reviews and 85 per cent of consumers reading those online reviews, it is critically important that your business respond to negative online reviews appropriately.
At 411.ca, we offer not only a directory of local businesses, we also provide customer feedback of the business or service. 411.ca reviews each post and can offer the following advice for businesses that have received negative reviews:
Apologize for their “negative experience” – This doesn’t mean saying your service or business is bad, it simply means acknowledging that the customer has had a poor experience. “Sorry to hear about your negative experience.”
If the claim is legitimate and reasonable, offer a solution.
Respond on the same media platform – If it is a negative tweet, tweet your response back. If it is a lengthy review on a review site, respond on that site. Many times a customer will see a negative review and if the company responds appropriately, that can ‘save face’ and redeem the company. Also, if a potential customer finds the review through a Google search, your response will be attached.
Respond quickly – The internet doesn’t sleep. That gives a negative review endless time to circulate. Nip the problem in the bud as soon as it comes to your attention.
Be professional – We have all seen online reviews blanketed in expletives and ridiculous statements. It is vital that you, as a business owner or manager, respond to these reviews with decorum. Kill them with kindness is the old adage. Be polite and accommodating if you can. If the claim is unfounded or misinformed, politely rectify the misinformation.
411.ca reviews is an excellent tool for your business to use to help improve your customer service and to create an open dialogue between you and customers. 411.ca also helps you identify any problem areas so you can address them in a timely fashion.
Above all else, don’t get into an arguing match with an irate customer – Try moving these issues offline so it can be dealt with directly, not to mention privately. “Can we discuss this matter with you directly” has worked on Twitter in the past and indicates to other viewers you are trying to address the issue in a timely and professional fashion.
Every negative review offers the potential to be a detriment or teachable moment. In turn, how you respond will determine whether you reap the benefits of online reviews or reel from the damage it caused your business.
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