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Unexpected Turns: How to Turn Negative Reviews Into New Opportunities

Turning a Negative Into a Positive
Few things in life as a small business owner in the 21st century inspire more dread than a bad review. If you’ve been paying any attention to our blog posts here at LinkNow Media, you’ll know that we’re obsessed with reviews and “how they can impact your SEO” . And in fact, most consumers take reviews into account when they are searching for information on products.
So when your business gets a dreaded one-star review, it can feel like the end of the world. But it absolutely isn’t. In fact, it might just be the best thing that happens to your business this week.
When Life Hands You Lemons, Paint Them Gold
The first step to reclaiming your company’s reputation after a bad review?
DON’T PANIC.
Take a deep breath. Now is not the time to let powerful emotions take sway. And you will be experiencing powerful emotions! After all, your business isn’t only your livelihood, it’s so much more than that. It’s your raison d’etre. It’s what gets you bounding out of bed in the morning. When someone leaves a bad review, it feels personal.
What we see time and time again in dealing with small business owners is an immediate defensive response. The business owner will reply to the review, but immediately attack the reviewer’s character. This person is a liar. We never worked with them. This customer was mentally unwell!
Never do this.
It does not matter whether or not you and the client had a disagreement. The customer might even be lying (more on that below). Never ever attack the customer as a review response strategy.
It will immediately make you, the business owner, look like someone who leverages their power in order to get their way. Because you have to remember here that, from the outside, it looks like you have the power here, and that this customer is merely trying to make amends for how they were treated.
What do you do instead?
Reach out, with compassion and humility. You do not have to admit to anything you did not do, but you can apologize for the fact the customer had a negative experience.
Be kind but remain in control. Which means diplomatically expressing your condolences and promising to make amends in some regard. Maybe that means offering a discount on future services. Or maybe it requires something more serious like a policy review.
But remember that you are the face and voice of your business. Remember: magnanimity is something that looks good on absolutely everybody.
If you need to take time to get into the right headspace to do this, then do so.Remember that customers aren’t looking for an instant response, but the right response.
But I can still hear you saying, the review really is fake! I’ve never had that customer!
It doesn’t matter. Respond graciously. If it’s false, respond graciously and quietly report the review.
And don’t lose sleep. You’ll be okay. And soon, people will know your business as kind and professional under fire, which is worth its weight in gold stars.

Turning Negative Reviews into a Positive

Turning a Negative Into a Positive

Let’s be honest about it, there aren’t many things that can send a shiver down the spines of business owners much like negative reviews. However, the fact of the matter is that negative reviews don’t have to be the disaster that many business owners imagine them to be. In fact, dealt with positively and proactively, negative reviews can be used to your advantage.

At LinkNow Media, we know that no business is going to be happy with a negative review. However, we also know that any business, no matter what industry they are in, is going to experience negative reviews from time to time. So, instead of worrying needlessly about how a negative review might affect your business, why not take the time to read through these useful tips about how a positive mindset and proactive approach can turn bad reviews on their head in no time at all.

Earn Trust With Negative Reviews

Recent research shows that 86% of consumers say reviews are an essential resource when making purchase decisions. The reason that so many purchasers turn to reviews is because of their authenticity. When a customer is considering purchasing a product, there’s no research quite like hearing how people who have previously used the product or service have fared.
With that in mind, it can make sense why the first reaction of many business owners is to immediately delete negative reviews—but trust us—this is a bad idea! A centennial shopper survey found that 44% of people under age 18 would not trust product reviews that contained no negative excerpts and 60% were found to read the negative reviews first. If you don’t try to hide negative reviews, then it is likely that you will be rewarded by consumers who know that your company has nothing to hide.

Negative Reviews Can Drive Innovation

You may be wondering how negative reviews drive improvement and innovation but if you think about it, it is easy to see how. By using the analytics and insights you receive from user-generated ratings and reviews, you can shed light on opportunities to better serve your customers.

So, for instance if you are a restauranteur and have noticed that you have a clutch of three-star reviews or less, and you find that the reason for these negative reviews is because people think the service is often unfriendly, then you could correct this issue by having an in-house training session with your team showing them the virtues of being friendlier to customers.
At LinkNow Media, we work closely with all our commercial clients to create an environment where they can face negative reviews with confidence and a sense of assuredness that will help them improve their business in the long-run.

So, rather than try and silence your customers bad online reviews, why not take our advice on board and embrace the criticism in a positive and proactive fashion. We promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Keeping Clients Happy as a Designer

Personal Reviews

It’s a well-known fact that when creative people deal with non-creative people, it can be difficult on both ends. The client is usually coming from a place of not knowing what goes into the work their designer is doing most of the time.

Given these facts, it’s always important to remain calm, professional, and empathetic to the stance of your client. Telling yourself that the client is always right can get you part of the way, but learning how to work with your client and share ideas to create a productive environment is what will really sustain you throughout your career.

Tips for Success

As a designer, you’ve either spent years teaching yourself or being educated at a post-secondary school putting all of your passion and energy into the creative field that is design. Whether you’re a colorist, web designer, graphic designer, or one of the many other sub-sects of this area, it’s safe to say that your job is your life.

It’s unlikely you want that life to be a difficult one, so here are some tips to get through the day.

  1. Start the day right
  2. Before opening up your email and diving in, take a moment to meditate on the fact that the power is in your hands to discuss, educate, and create a final product that will both please your client and enhance your portfolio. You are the one with the knowledge, and as it was so famously stated by Uncle Ben in Spiderman: with great power comes great responsibility.

  3. Stay open to suggestion
  4. There’s nothing that will put a stop to cooperation faster than a closed mind. If your client approaches you with an idea that you believe to be impossible, take a moment before responding and figure out the best way to execute that idea in a way you see as doable. There’s no such thing as a bad idea. Even the most frustrating suggestions can lead to real results.

  5. Learn about the brand
  6. By learning about your client’s business you can better invest yourself in the work you’re doing. If you care about what you’re creating just as much as your client does, beyond the purely creative point, you’ll find it a lot more exciting getting to work!

  7. Communicate
  8. The most important thing you can do is communicate. Don’t move ahead on any aspect of the project without checking in and making sure that where you’re at right now is good. You will still have clients who may change their minds, but you can minimize that through communication.

    Keep Calm and Carry On

    When two people from vastly different backgrounds come together to work on a project, there will inevitably be problems. As a designer, it is your duty to help your clients through the creative process as you collaborate to create a final result.

    By keeping in mind that you hold all the information and have the ability to share it, you can take on a calm and confident role in all of your business relationship and continue to enjoy your job!

When Reviews Get Personal

Personal Reviews

When we talk about online reviews we often discuss businesses with multiple people at play—the owner, partners, employees, and clients walking through the door whether that be a physical one or an online one.

But what if you’re the sole-proprietor of your own small business, or a freelancer working for larger companies? Then things start to take a more personal turn on the topic of reviews. As the primary figurehead of your business, the only owner, and the only employee, it’s going to be nearly impossible to separate the actions of yourself from the work you do.

While many freelancers will not open themselves up to online review in the classic sense, if you are the owner of your own online storefront, that’s not an option you’re going to have.

When the Face Impacts the Business

Businesses like NastyGal and Lime Crime may have a multitude of employees, but they make for good case studies when it comes to showing how the face of a business can impact its sales.

NastyGal

By now, many in the retail world know the story of the rise and fall of GirlBoss Sophia Amoruso. But we’re going to point out a situation that happened before the official launch of NastyGal.com, back when NastyGal Vintage was a not-so-humble eBay store.

Marking up thrift store finds from $8 to $1,000, Amoruso started garnering the disapproval of other vintage eBay sellers. Not content to ignore them and continue on her way, she would delve into chatrooms to argue with and troll fellow sellers. The result? They banded together to get her store shut down.

Now, while this gave her the push to launch her multi-million dollar .com, it was a low point that displays how getting personal can bring you into the spotlight and ensure that simple seller jealousy turns into a personal vendetta with a lot more power behind it.

Lime Crime

As of 2015, Lime Crime was labeled “the most hated beauty company on the internet” by a multitude of online bloggers. Right from the start, the brand was founded by Doe Deere who already had popularity online through LiveJournal, which as it turned out would both help and hinder her brand.

When you’re an online personality, there’s dirt for people to dig up, and being in the blogosphere, there were a lot of people on the lookout for Deere’s first slip-up. And dirt was indeed dug up.

And, amidst news of Deere threatening legal action against a 13 year-old for photo credits, repackaging her makeup, and dressing as a Nazi for Halloween—how did Deere react? She got deeply involved in the conversation even suing multiple bloggers.

Lime Crime is a textbook case of a company face tarnishing the reputation of a good product.

In Conclusion

The message to keep in mind if you are the owner of your own small business or you work freelance for larger companies, is to remember that you are your business.
Especially in the age of the internet, people are always watching. And while that may seem creepy, it’s a good thought to keep in mind. As a business owner, you now represent that business at all times. So, try not to wear offensive Halloween costumes and sue your critics. It’s the least you can do.

Can You Remove That Negative Review?

Removing Reviews

For business owners, negative online reviews are the bane of their existence. You work so hard to get your business up and running and promote it properly online, working with SEO and creating regular quality content, only to find that those reviews you see when someone searches for you have dipped a star because someone had a bad experience.

If it’s something you’re genuinely at fault for it’s upsetting, but something you can work with. But what about when it’s undeserved? Your competition can use reviews to sabotage you, ex-employees can use them to get their rage out, and activists can use them to tank your rating for doing something they don’t approve of.

In these cases, you’re going to want to get that review removed ASAP. But will Google do it? How do you even contact them to try? It’s time to find out.

Five Types of Reviews You Can Remove

There are five categories of reviews that Google will review and remove for you. To get to the reviewing process simply flag the review. You’ll then be prompted to enter your email address and if Google requires follow-up information they’ll get in touch.

Illegal Content

If there is mention of illegal activity within a review, then it will likely be removed from Google. Mentions of racist organizations may also be removed. In many cases these reviews are meant to purely be sensationalistic and bring down a business’s reputation rather than deal with a real problem. However, if there is a clear and strong case presented, Google may opt to leave the review up.

Fake Reviews

Anyone can claim that a review is fake and ask for it to be removed, so how does Google determine which is which? If one account reviews multiple similar businesses or if multiple accounts leave reviews on one business in quick succession these are good signs.

Biased Reviews

Negative reviews left by current or ex-employees of a company will be removed immediately. Another case of a biased review will be one account leaving you a negative review and leaving your direct competition a positive one. In most cases this is your competition doing the writing.

Mistaken Reviews

Mistakes happen, and so do glitches. A client from the business down the street could get prompted to review your company, think you’re someone else, and before you know it you’re learning about someone’s bad graphic design experience while you’re just over here trying to run your restaurant!

Reviews After Controversy

Social media is great for spreading information, but that information isn’t always positive. If your business has been part of a controversial news story that resulted in hundreds of negative reviews from people who have never been clients, Google will remove those reviews.

Relieved?

We hope that some of those examples were a relief to you. Online it can often feel like we’re left without anyone to protect us from negative comments, but in quite a few cases Google will do exactly that.

Have you had any other types of reviews removed from your page that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

Indeed: More than Just a Job Hunting Site

Indeed and Company Reviews

Available in over 60 countries and in 28 languages, if you’ve searched for a job in the last 10 years you’ll know what Indeed is. Indeed makes it simple to upload your resume for ease of application for jobs you’re interested in, and makes it simple for employers to create their own page, post jobs, and find the ideal candidate. If an employee makes their resume public, employers can even do the legwork themselves and reach out to candidates they’re interested in.

But there’s something else featured on Indeed that not everyone notices, and that’s employer reviews. In 2014, the amount of reviews posted reached the four million mark and we can only imagine how many there are now!

In-Depth Reviewing Process

Indeed reviews dig a lot deeper than other review sites, giving Indeed the ability to compile information about national averages and much more.
When a client leaves a review for your company, they are asked for the following:

  • Five-star ratings of job work/life balance, salary benefits, job security/advancement, management, and job culture
  • A review title and review (150 characters minimum)
  • Pros and cons
  • Your job title and workplace location
  • Your start and end date
  • Your salary (listed confidentially as part of a statistics pool)
  • A CEO recommendation “yes or no”
  • How you dressed at your interview, and what benefits the company offers

Considering the majority of review sites such as Google and Facebook just offer a star rating and comment box this is quite a lot to consider!

Using Indeed Reviews

When people are looking for a job, they want the inside scoop. Indeed allows them to have this. In fact, in 2014, 83% of job hunters said that employer reviews influenced their decision when applying.

When gathering reviews it’s important to not always think about the client but to remember that your reviews are also going to affect your workforce. Your ideal employee could be out there right now and if you don’t have the right reviews they could slip right through your fingers.

Top companies on Indeed can make it to the Indeed blog pages and other listings, showing off to future employees all the great things they have to offer, and even ranking higher on Google searches.

Dealing With Negativity

Unfortunately, in this case, unlike Google, ex-employees can review your company. And those reviews may be negative. So, how do you deal with it? Well, you deal with it like any other review.

Acknowledge and thank reviewers for positive feedback, and empathize with those who left negative feedback. As always, if you present yourself professionally you could sway the opinion of that future employee or client reading through a negative review.

People know that there’s always two sides to a story, and expressing your side calmly and truthfully, can make a world of difference.

Make the Leader Board!

While it is most common for larger companies like RBC to make Indeed’s leader board, you can make it to the top in your own industry. This ranking is determined by having sufficient reviews for the relevant category as well as update frequency.

So, stay active on your Indeed page and see what it can do for you!

Where Will Online Reviews Take You in 2018?

Online Reviews in 2018

Whether you’re just starting out online or you’ve been promoting your company on the World Wide Web for years now, there’s no denying the strength of a quality collection of online reviews.

Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List… it goes on and on. The sites that people can use to have their say about your business are endless.

Opening up your business to reviews can be scary at first, but after you settle into a routine, you take them as they come. However, if you are just starting out or you’re in a bad place with your reviews currently, your main resolution for 2018 should be to create a quality reputation for your company online.

The Stats

We’ll start off with the stats. Heading into 2018, we’ve got a few we know already.

  • 82% of Americans pay attention to the reviews of their friends and family.
  • 92% of all consumers are reading reviews.
  • 31%of consumers will spend 31% more on businesses with good reviews.

In fact, if your business has a one star rating only 5% of consumers will feel comfortable purchasing from you or using your services. That’s a pretty staggering case for staying on top of your reviews.

Collecting Reviews in the New Year

Whether you were already aware of it or not, there are good ways to get reviews, and bad ways. And while the lines of legality can be tough considering you’re on the internet, consider this: Companies paying for reviews left by fake reviewers have been sued multiple times in the past by large corporations such as Amazon. Just don’t do it.

Instead, collect your reviews direct from happy customers. If you have a storefront, put a sign at your counter telling people how they can have their say, or even include a flyer with their receipt that tells them the same. Your clients will want to be heard, so letting them know they have an outlet will do the trick.

Responding to Bad Reviews

Got a bad review? It probably doesn’t feel very good. We’ve all been there. What can you do about it? Respond as quickly as possible.

If the review is from an unreasonable client, explain your stance politely and offer restitution if possible. If you are in the wrong, admit this immediately and offer a discount or other reward. Whether these clients accept what you say or not, you are showing that you are a professional and reasonable business owner. This will go a long way for potential clients reading your negative reviews.

The worst thing you can do in the case of a negative review is ignore it. It’s not going to go away.

A Toast to Your Success

When you’ve got a top-rated business online you can truly get ready to pop that champagne and celebrate. Online reviews can be frustrating but always keep in mind that your clients are the people who keep your business going. Their input is valuable, and without them you wouldn’t be around very long!

Happy New Year, and happy reviewing!

The Best Way to Understand Your Clients’ Needs

Understanding your clients

As of 2015, Forbes estimated there were 27 million small businesses registered in the United States. If you spread that number out equally amongst all 50 states, that leaves 480,000 small business per state. And this count isn’t including larger companies that could be your competition depending on your industry.

Being able to understand your clients’ needs is what is going to end up determining whether you’re successful or not. Attracting clients is the first step, but then you’re going to need to ensure they stick around. Predicting what merchandise and services they could use and making changes they’ll appreciate—that is how you guarantee a return customer.

It’s Actually Quite Simple

Believe it or not, it’s actually quite simple to understand the needs of your clients in 2018. Why is this? It’s because of the internet.

Everyone is able to have their say now, to the point of frustration! And, while the online world has its share of irritants and unreasonable commenters, there is a lot that can be taken into account from analytics, and especially online reviews.

While analytics can tell you what products and posts are popular, reviews are your direct line to the minds of your clients, not sugar-coated, and honest.

Seeing Through the Attitude

The best and worst thing about the internet is that people feel more comfortable saying exactly what they like. Without being face to face with someone, you’re just talking to your monitor, and what sort of offense is it going to take to what you’re typing? Not much.

Positive reviews tend to be straightforward about what the client enjoyed about your services.

“I came by the gaming store today looking for an expansion I couldn’t find anywhere else and not only did you have it, but it was priced lower than everywhere else!”

They like your pricing—check.

Negative reviews often come wrapped in excessive language and hate which can make it hard to pull the constructive parts out.

“I have never left a negative review in my life. But because of your restaurant, today is the day. I was going out to enjoy a beautiful day and have lunch with my fiancée who I never have the chance to treat to anything because I’m so busy with work, but the presentation of your menus as well as the food was disappointing to say the least. The attitudes of the servers offended us further…”

The list goes on. Negative reviewers want to paint a picture of their entire negative experience, which is OK. From this you can glean that there were issues with presentation, food, as well as service. To find out more, all you need to do is reply politely and request that you speak over the phone and rectify the experience.

Extending the Olive Branch

Extending the olive branch to negative reviewers is what will get you the best information on changes that you should be making. While some reviewers may be in the wrong, take everything that is said seriously and do a self-evaluation to see if maybe there’s something right hiding in there.

The old saying really is true—the customer is always right!

Chaos: The World of Online Reviews

Chaos Online Reviews

The world of online reviews can be a chaotic one. So, is it really that necessary to be a part of it? For many business, they are losing interest and dropping the option for reviews altogether on websites like Facebook where this is possible.

Larger companies such as conventions find themselves inundated with reviews from false reviewers, disappointed attendees who didn’t have lofty needs met, and more. Knowing that they’re still guaranteed a large attendance, why bother leaving those pesky reviews up?

And, with mega review site Yelp itself clocking in at 57% of their reviews being one star, it’s clear that the community is not impressed. And Yelp is not the only one. There are a lot of online business owners out there who think review website aren’t doing their job when it comes to quality control.

Control Your Feedback

While it’s impossible to have full control over your online reviews, there are steps you can take to ensure your review section online is not a total disaster. It all starts with vigilance.

If you’re just starting out and have the time to man your own reviews, make sure that you set up notifications so you can see them as the roll in. If you are a larger company that gets multiple reviews in a week or even day, you’re going to need a dedicated employee for this task.

Response is everything when it comes to reviews. If you have received a negative review from a genuine client of whom you can comment on their experience and offer a solution, do it as quickly as possible. If you have received a review not left by a genuine customer, you can calmly and professionally express your side of the story.

And, the report button is your friend. Most recently, Google reviews updated their terms of service to state that ex-employees cannot leave negative reviews. If you’re dealing with those, send a report to Google straight away!

The Power is in Your Hands… Sort Of

It’s a tough fact of life that online reviews are always going to be a bit of a mess. In a world where an argument to remove a review is very much “he said she said,” it’s not easy for moderators on websites such as Yelp to make decisions in your favor.

But the power is still in your hands, and reviews are still useful to your business.

The stats still are there. Ninety-two percent of consumers in 2018 are reading online reviews when looking for local businesses and 42% of these consumers won’t use business with less than a three-star rating.

Business owners may not have complete control over the state of their reviews, but they can always do their best to represent themselves properly.

The most anyone can do is their best, so stay on top of your reviews, run your business ethically, and remember: the customer is always right. Unless they’re not really your customer and have a personal vendetta against you. 😉

Lose Your Bad Review Rep

Lose Your Bad Review Rep

We’ve all seen how important online reviews were for businesses in 2017, and know how horrifying it can be when you put your business out there hoping to hear the best, and instead receive negativity.

A shocking 97% of consumers are browsing for local businesses and reading online reviews, with these reviews impacting nearly 70% of purchasing decisions. The last thing you should be doing is sitting back, relaxing, letting the reviews flow in and focusing on other parts of your business.

However, it also needs to be said that freaking out about every bad review is not the best path to go down either. So, what do you do to regain your reputation when reviews go sour?

It’s Not So Bad

Let’s start off with another statistic: 77% of consumers don’t pay attention to reviews older than three months.

Breathing a little better now? While it is a wait period, if you’re actively monitoring your reviews, taking in constructive criticism, and responding professionally to non-constructive criticism, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to ride this out.

Negative reviews can happen for a lot of reasons. You could be dealing with a competitor sending fake reviews your way, you could have had a difficult customer who just can’t be satisfied, or you made a mistake. In all of these cases—it’s not so bad. There are ways to deal, and to recover.

Keep up Communication

If you launched your business, immediately opened it up for reviews, and then got inundated with all that comes along with launching a business, don’t be surprised if your reviews are less than kind.

Lots of us have been there—you haven’t looked in a while, and when you do, you get that sick feeling in your stomach.

First: You can’t go back. If you have yet to build your online presence and open yourself up to reviews, hold off until you’re a bit more established.

If not… get communicating! A review without a response is a missed opportunity.

You Can Improve

It’s easy as a business owner to become protective over your company and believe that it can do no wrong. But this is absolutely never the case.

As humans, we make mistakes. As humans, what one of us likes is not always what another one of us will like. You’re always going to have unhappy customers, and opening yourself up to their criticism will only make you and your business better.

This Too Shall Pass

A good mantra for anyone dealing with review stress is: “This too shall pass”.

Online reviews are important, and yes, they will be there forever. But the more time goes by, the less those few bad ones are going to matter.

And best of all, now you have a public record of just how far you’ve come!

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