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Turning Negative Reviews Into Positive Actions

By Debi Katsmar

Posted in Social Media Know-How, Engagement Marketing, reputation management

SMBs using social media all have one fear - how to handle negative reviews, comments and feedback on their social channels. Here is a great example...

battery - negative, positive -- feedback

They say 'there is no such thing as bad publicity'.

When working with our clients, especially those new to social media, one of their greatest fears is how to handle negative reviews, feedback and comments.

This week, an incident occurred with one of our clients - a negative review was not just written, but shared as a video. In reality the review wasn't all that bad, it was the opinion of the guy making it (this guy does reviews of businesses on a regular basis), but what he did do was go on to promote another local business in the area, comparing the product from the company he was reviewing to the product of the other business. He also made reference to previous experiences at this establishment saying the product was better than he had hoped given previous visits. 

What happened next was the actual problem -- not so much the review. 

The business owner called the reviewer to complain about the video, and ultimately told the reviewer off in a not so friendly way. The reviewer then made a second video telling the world about the businesses owners 'outrageous' response. This video received over 3000 views in 1 hour - far outweighing the first video posted. And then the comments started flooding our client's page, we could barely keep up.  The original review didn't generate any comments to our client's page, but the not so polite response video did. Wow, comment after comment. 'We won't be back', etc.  There were a few loyal customers defending the establishment but for the most part the loyal fans were quiet. 

We are not a believer in deleting posts on social media as we believe everyone is entitled to their opinion and feedback is usually a good thing. The only time we delete posts is when the comments are vulgar or threatening. When a business chooses to delete a post with negative comments or reviews, it usually spurs more negative comments and often the complaints are then moved elsewhere - to a place the business now has no control over. Better to keep it where you can monitor and control. 

Turning the Negative to a Positive

How my client responded this time was well done. The client created his own video, he apologized for reacting in the manner he did, he apologized to the reviewer which he had done via phone call as well we believe, and then challenged people to try the product themselves. And, added that proceeds from that product would go to local charity.  

Guess what? That video has reached over 10,000 people, and had 5700 engagements. Those loyal customers now came out of the woodwork to defend this establishment knowing he was willing to right a wrong. The page has seen more new fans in a few days than in the previous six months. And so many more people are aware of the business, will go to the business for the first time, or return to take the challenge.  

crowThe Result

By not ignoring the situation, 'eating crow' as his customers stated and stepping up this business overall received more positive feedback than negative in the end -- and has new customers too. 

Tips for Dealing with Negative Reviews Online

  1. Do not ignore the negative review or comment. Reply to it promptly. 
  2. Keep your tone civil, polite and professional when responding. 
  3. Ask how you can rectify the situation 
  4. Take the conversation offline
  5. Do not make excuses, offer solutions
  6. Apologize if warranted

There will always be online bullies, there will always be people who are impossible to please. Rest easy in knowing you did everything in your power to rectify the situation and move on. People will gradually forget about the situation as the feed moves further into the belly of the internet. 

If your ratings were negatively affected, ask for reviews from your loyal fans to bring your rating back up. Reviews often are the deciding factor for people in determining which company to buy from. No one really expects perfect reviews, the point is to have more positive than negative and on those negative reviews, ensure there is a comment and hopefully a resolution posted. 

Managing your online reputation is more than reviews - to learn more

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