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How to Respond to Internet Reviews of Your Business

Posted January 3, 2014  |  written by  |  The Executive Corner

One of the social media powers entrusted to the buying public is the ability to go online and post reviews of your business for the world to see. This can work against you if the review is a negative one–deservedly or not. But the good news is that you can mitigate bad reviews, control the damage, and even earn new customers by following these simple steps.

Actively Search for Online Reviews

The first step to managing your business online reviews–positive or negative–is to know when they are posted. That means proactively searching the social media channels on a regular basis to read anything posted concerning your business and its products or services.

Think Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google, online newspapers and any of the other biggies in your particular region. You can set profiles to alert you when information is posted–but taking the initiative and seeking out posted reviews is always a best practice.

Think Ink! Success Tip: Assign a person on your team to help monitor online reviews of your business with the major social networks and to report back to the team any reviews–positive and negative–for proper follow-up.

Consider Objectively–and Read between the Lines

Consider the comment and what the reviewer is trying to say. If the review is inflammatory or abusive, ignoring it may be the very best option. Also, try and have the comment removed–most social networks have rules against inflammatory or abusive language.

If the review seems level-headed and on-point, discuss the situation with your team and consider a tactful response that addresses the issue directly.

Think Ink! Success Tip: Never get pulled into name-calling, or respond with passive-aggressiveness or sarcasm–this only serves to fuel the fire. Instead, getting feedback from several team members before responding ensures a calm, rational next step.

Apologize and Solicit Input

As tough as it maybe, acknowledge that a mistake was made and ask for suggestions from the reviewer on how to make things right. This may include offering a sensible symbol of peace–such as a discount on a future purchase or a replacement of the defective product or service.

Never couple your apology with a qualifier that redirects blame towards the reviewer’s feelings. This can make your company seem aggressive and apathetic to anyone who reads the exchange.

Think Ink! Success Tip: Before disagreements with reviewers happen, go ahead and decide on a list of premiums that you can offer disgruntled customers to mitigate dissatisfaction–this shortens the length of time between complaint and response that comes from deciding on such a peacemaker.

Use these suggestions to create a ‘social media review’ action plan and you’ll empower your business to react properly. Not only that, but responding openly and honestly to negative reviews will show the world that you’re a company who stands behind its products and services–and that just might earn you more business.

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