Biz Tips: 4 Tips to Handle Negative Reviews and Protect Your Brand’s Reputation

Biz Tips: 4 Tips to Handle Negative Reviews and Protect Your Brand’s Reputation


4 Tips to Handle Negative Reviews and Protect Your Brand’s Reputation

The modern online world thrives on word of mouth marketing and online reviews. Before a potential customer even considers the possibility of engaging with your brand, they will first research your entire online existence in order to evaluate your brand’s credibility. This means that online reviews can literally make or break your business in the digital realm. It also means that you need to take an active part in the matter and build your brand’s online reputation rather than watching someone else build it for you.

With social media and Google recommendations come customer reviews, and you need to make sure that they portray a positive image of your brand. Nevertheless, there is no escaping the dreaded negative feedback, and sooner or later someone is going to leave a negative comment — don’t worry, there’s plenty you can do to remedy the situation. Here are the four tips to help you turn negative reviews around.

Monitor the online chatter

The first step towards seizing control of your online reputation is to tend to comprehensive media monitoring. Bullying in the digital world tends to slip by unnoticed, especially if you’re not frequent on social media or if you don’t have a dedicated digital marketing team on your staff. This begs the need to keep your eyes peeled at all times and monitor the online chatter regarding your brand on all your social media feeds, your website, Google, and other websites as well.

Obtaining the necessary insights will allow you to pinpoint the source of the problem, ascertain the situation and its complexity, and devise the best approach to every problem. While you should also craft an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), keep in mind that the majority of negative reviews will require you to approach them in a unique way.

Decide if the review warrants a response

There is nothing wrong with wanting to set the record straight. After all, you wouldn’t let anyone bully your family members, so why should anyone be allowed to bully your brand and its members? However, when it comes to online reviews, there is a need to take a step back and assess the situation in its entirety. Sometimes, it’s best to ignore the bully completely.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your response might not deliver the results you were hoping for. Remember, if you start defending yourself, people are going to side with the customer. This is a delicate situation you need to handle perfectly, so decide first if the comment warrants a response on your behalf. Lastly, believe in your audience. People can tell when someone is “trolling” you, and when someone is expressing a legitimate concern — and so should you.

Build a comprehensive crisis management plan

When disaster does strike, you need to be prepared. Never underestimate the power of bad press in the digital world, or the ability of a single disgruntled customer to kick-start an avalanche of backlash and negative comments from other customers. You need to prevent this scenario at all costs, and most importantly, you need to know exactly how to react when the process has already been set in motion.

The primary role of an efficient and effective crisis management plan is to deliver the information necessary for you to formulate a response before the situation gets out of hand. You need to know exactly where the review or comment originated, who initiated the process, and of course, how your audience is responding to the claims. Once you have this information, you can easily obtain a bird’s eye view of the entire situation, and decide on the best course of action.

Determine the best course of action

How should you respond to this particular review? Unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter solution for every scenario, but there are three tactics that should always be a part of your strategy: direct communication, professional conduct, and keeping the rest of the audience in the loop. Integrate these three tactics into your response strategy, and you stand a good chance of turning the entire situation into an advantage for your brand.

Let’s break these down:

  • Direct communication. This can be done in one of two ways: you can choose to address the customer publicly, or you can choose to engage in personal communication via email or chat. Choose the public route, and you will make the discussion a public matter, but will also get the chance to rectify the situation in front of everyone. Choose the latter option, and you will get the chance to connect with the customer on a more personal level, albeit without anyone else knowing about it.
  • Professional conduct. The goal of your response is not to win an argument, but to resolve a problem. With that in mind, be sure to address their needs and do whatever it takes to rectify the situation.
  • Keeping everyone in the know. People want to know what came of the entire thing, and keeping them in the loop will help build a positive opinion of your brand. Make sure to post a public follow-up comment stating that the issue has been resolved to let everyone know that you’re a brand that puts its customers first.

In conclusion

There is no escaping online bullying, especially in the modern business world. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re left at the mercy of negative reviews, but rather that you should devise a comprehensive strategy that will help you turn every situation into a marketing opportunity for your brand.

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