Have you or your business ever been on the receiving end of a bad customer review? Chances are you have, and if you’re doing business online you most certainly will. But even though it’s clear no business is immune to a negative review, it doesn’t stop us from going to work each day to prevent one.
At Reputation Rhino, we are experts in Online Reputation Management and as such, we speak with authority in all phases of building, restoring, and maintaining a robust online presence. From prevention and maintenance to repair and restoration, your online reputation depends on making sure you’re protected on every front.
This article will armor you with the information you need to protect your online image from potential damage a bad review can create. You will receive practical tips and our best practices to minimize your exposure and mitigate the damage that can result from negative reviews.
How To Limit Exposure
Just as no human is immune to contracting the common cold along with all the unpleasantries of its corresponding symptoms, no business is immune to receiving bad reviews. While nobody likes having to deal with either, the potential for long-lasting and harmful effects of the latter makes it far more impactful.
According to a recent study, 78% of the respondents said they believe it is very important to look up information about people and/or businesses online before deciding to interact or do business with them and 74% would most likely refuse to interact or do business with a person or company if they found negative information about them online.
As you can see, not only can a bad review damage your image, but it can quickly lead to lost customers and revenue.
This translates to some serious implications for your business and bottom line… And since we don’t operate in a bubble, eliminating exposure is not an option.
When it comes to protecting yourself and your online reputation from the common threat of a bad review, you can armor yourself in two ways:
- Take all precautionary measures to limit your exposure to harmful reviews
- Bolster your immunity to exposure by maintaining a favorable environment in which you relate to your customers
This may sound self-explanatory, but the majority of businesses out there are largely unaware of the many variables that go into both protecting and promoting a healthy online presence in the face of inevitable exposure.
Online Reputation Management involves a combination of marketing, public relations, legal, and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to promote, protect, and defend your online image or business reputation.
At Reputation Rhino, we work with companies to shield them from unnecessary exposure through monitoring and addressing reviews in real time, as well as implementing strategies to promote optimal and healthy public relations in the online atmosphere.
A Healthy Response to Bad Reviews
The health and vitality of a business can also be measured in terms of its efficacy in response to harmful exposure. Timely response to all customer feedback, particularly on high-visibility review sites like Yelp and Google, is imperative.
For an in-depth tool to help optimize your responsiveness, we recommend you download our Ultimate Guide to Online Reviews.
But to best meet this article’s primary objective, we will be narrowing our focus to how best to respond in the face of unwanted customer feedback.
It’s prudent to keep a level head when dealing with negative reviews. If you react emotionally or defensively, you’ll only make the situation worse. What’s said online can and will be held against you, so while it’s important not to waste an opportunity to defend yourself properly, it’s even more critical to avoid inadvertently weaponizing your own words against your character.
Choose the Best Tone for Your Response
When you feel certain that a review has been posted by a customer who has purchased or used your product or service, thank them for sharing their experience. Then work with them to come to a mutual resolution. Demonstrate your willingness to work with them publicly, but take the conversation offline if it becomes more complicated.
Below is a recommended example like the ones in our free guide to online reviews for you to start implementing in your review response strategy.
Dear [CUSTOMER NAME],
We are sorry to hear you were disappointed by the food you received. Your feedback is valuable and has already been shared with our chef and culinary team.
To improve and make sure you will have a wonderful experience next time, we would appreciate any recommendations or suggestions that suffice your needs to be met at our establishment. Please contact me at: [EMAIL AND PHONE #] so we can find a convenient time to invite you back as our guest.
As you notice in the aforementioned example, it is important to stick to the facts without imposing blame on the reviewer or the restaurant staff. Most people simply want to be heard, understood, and validated. It’s best to open dialogue with the reviewers and seek a resolution. Should they take you up on your offer, there is real potential to retain their repetitive business for the long haul!
What to do if False Claims Are Made Against You Online
Not all online reviews are authentic. Competitors or disgruntled customers create some negative reviews—and positive ones can also be fictitious. Real or fake, the people who read those reviews are likely to believe them which makes it imperative to have your seamless response to such an attack prepared ahead of time.
If you determine that a review qualifies as libel, or defamation, involves a false statement or was posted by someone who has not used your product or service, then you may have legal recourse.
We should warn you, however, that simple exposure can become a viral threat online if your defense team is caught on their heels. Reputation Rhino’s team of expert advocates are armed with the legal know-how and experience to diffuse a dangerous threat to your online reputation and are prepared to carry out a swift counter-assault should one be necessary.
Who Should I Reach Out To For the Best Line Of Defense for Bad Reviews?
Repairing and restoring a damaged online reputation is possible, but it takes work and most of us can not afford to be out of commission for very long. As is true with the common cold, the best protection is prevention.
Through expert monitoring and early detection, Reputation Rhino is best positioned to safeguard our clients as the first line of defense, thus eliminating the lag time between exposure and response.
If you’re ready to enlist the most reputable online reputation management specialists to aid in bolstering the health of your online reputation and online review strategy, we’re ready to be mobilized.
Reach out to our team today to book a free consultation and strategy session to detect, repair, and take down bad reviews that could be harming your business.