If you’re a local business owner, you already know how much that one little star in a negative review can impact your online reputation. No matter how amazing your product or service is, negative reviews are an unavoidable part of doing business. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Both catching and addressing negative reviews can boost your online reputation.
Online reputation management is easier when you have a ReachCast Web Presence Professional (WPP) on your side. As part of the ReachCast service, your WPP is there to help you find reviews about your business, as well as find the right ways to respond when a negative review pops up. Here’s what you need to know for handling those negative reviews, and what your WPP can do to help you.
Know About Your Negative Reviews
As G.I. Joe would say, knowing is half the battle. You’ll never be able to address negative reviews if you don’t know about them. Entering your business name into a search engine along with “reviews” or “complaints” can help you find out what your customers are saying about you on the web, and using tools like Google Alerts can help you keep tabs on mentions of your business.
With ReachCast, your WPP is also actively monitoring your online reputation with the ReachCast Radar. The Radar allows you and your WPP to “tune in” to specific review sites, such as Yelp, Insider Pages and Citysearch, and receive an update when a new positive or negative review is posted. If your WPP catches a negative review in the Radar, they can alert you quickly so you can take action in a timely manner.
Know How to Respond
Or how not to respond, as the case may be. When you find out about a negative review, the first thing to do is step back from the situation before shooting off a hasty reply. A negative review can often feel like a personal attack, but as a business owner and a professional, you shouldn’t respond as though it is. Instead, calmly consider the customer’s complaint. If it’s a specific and honest lapse on the part of your company, own up to it and find out how you can make it better, so you can turn an unhappy customer into a returning customer.
A ReachCast WPP can act as a great sounding board for you to discuss how to best address a negative review. WPPs share best practices and advice for how to reply and when to reply (and when to let sleeping trolls lie). If you’re having trouble finding the right words, your WPP can even help you craft your response.
Know How to Focus on the Positive
Responding to negative reviews is only one part of reputation management. It’s even more important to know how to accentuate the positive. For every negative review, you probably have scores of happy customers—so don’t forget to ask your loyal patrons to leave good reviews for your business. Also, don’t forget to say thank you to the people who speak highly of you online, and promote those glowing testimonials.
A ReachCast WPP does more than focus on the negative reviews: they also look for positive reviews to re-cast and share with your social audience on Facebook, Twitter and the Cast page, which in turn helps build a better online reputation (and web presence) for your business. Using the ReachCast Radar, WPPs listen for mentions of your business on Twitter and elsewhere online, so they can reach out and say “thank you” to your fans.
Does Responding to a Negative Review Really Work?
Absolutely! Just ask Muzi Chevrolet. Their Web Presence Professional, Jessica Larsen, recently found a one-star review in the ReachCast Radar and was able to bring it to the business’ attention. Working with Jessica, Muzi Chevrolet responded and addressed the customer’s concerns immediately. The customer was so impressed, they changed their one-star review into a four-star review!
“Keeping up with your online reputation is crucial,” Jessica says. “If you respond to a negative review quickly, your customer and anyone else who reads the review will see you are the kind of business that truly cares. It sets you apart from your competitors and ensures future customers that you will go the extra mile to make things right.”
And simply asking your customers to give you positive reviews online can make a real difference, too—whether you’re combating a negative reputation or trying to build a good one from scratch. When Frank Subaru started their ReachCast campaign, the business lacked a strong web presence and online reviews. Web Presence Professional Kelsey Plucker immediately suggested that the business begin asking their happy customers to leave positive reviews. As soon as Frank Subaru started asking, the good reviews started pouring in. After about a month, they acquired 23 great testimonials on their Cast page!
As Kelsey puts it, “The Frank Subaru ReachCast campaign truly shows that great reviews directly impact your overall web presence. The constant flow of rave reviews has helped boost their search engine results as well as increase their Facebook fans and Twitter followers. I’m continually impressed with the amount of fantastic reviews that are coming in, and watching their campaign progress is extremely exciting!”
How About You?
Have you ever had a good experience responding to a negative review? Do you have any great techniques you use to manage your online reputation? Share your story in the comments.