Reputation marketing is derived from online reviews, which makes it pretty unpredictable. You can provide seemingly identical experiences for two different customers, and they might interpret them in two totally different ways. One review can be a glowing piece of poetry, singing your praises, and the other can be a written assault that makes you question your entire existence. It’s easy to know how to feel in response to a good review, but what are you supposed to say or do when you get a bad review?
Bad Review Response Step 1: Detach
It can feel extremely personal to read a bad review – especially because sometimes the reviews are about you personally! A review denouncing your company, brand, or employer is also frustrating, though, and you might be tempted to immediately disregard it. That’s why the first step is to turn off your defense mechanisms and read the review like it’s about another company entirely.
Bad Review Response Step 2: Find Out The Truth
Now that you have a more neutral approach, pull the facts out from the content. Figure out the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Then do your due diligence to find out how accurate the complaint is. Forget about the tone of the review, and evaluate the facts and evidence to determine exactly what happened.
Bad Review Response Step 3: Leave Up Or Take Down
This is the big question that people always ask about bad reviews – should they be left as is, or deleted? Most reputation management experts recommend leaving them up, because they actually create more trust and credibility. 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores, and 30% of consumers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews. There are exceptions, though, such as reviews about the wrong company, reviews that personally attack or defame an individual, or reviews that use offensive or inappropriate language.
Bad Review Response Step 4: Decide On A Course Of Action
By this point you know if there is legitimacy to the claim, so you need to come up with how you will handle it. If the claim seems false, you should still follow up and politely request clarification. If the claim is legitimate, you will need to decide how to make it right before you reach out to them. This might be a replacement product, refund, expedited shipping, or perhaps just a sincere apology.
Bad Review Response Step 5: Make It Right
You need to completely execute your plan of action before responding that the situation is resolved. This might mean removing an item from your website, hiring or firing staff members, or waiting for a refund to fully process. In the meantime, you can post a response explaining what you are doing to resolve the matter, but do not claim it is fixed until it’s 100% done. You can always add a new update or edit the old response later. This will prevent you from inadvertently making a false claim about what you’ve done, and then losing even more trust when the customer refutes what you’ve said.
If you’re ready to take charge of your online rep, we’re here to help. Increase Your Profits is a top-rated reputation marketing and digital marketing company. Click here to schedule your discovery call with us, or click here to access our free Guide to Reputation Marketing.