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Business Owners’ Bad Review Responses A Case Study

Reviews are a fact of life when it comes to running a business.

They can be your best friend, or your worst enemy—depending on how you deal with them.

While it is tempting to write a scathing and entertaining response to people who leave negative reviews, as a professional, it is your duty to hold your tongue and not let your emotions do the thinking.

Below, are some examples of negative review responses, and how they could have been handled better.

1.

Where to start?

Firstly, admitting that you are inebriated when discussing a business issue is never OK. One shouldn’t be drunk in the first place when you’re on the clock (and yes, if you’re responding to reviews in your own time, that counts), but publicly admitting it is highly unprofessional. Next, making personal critiques (grammar) and suggesting a customer see a psychologist is not constructive. Especially when your own grammar and sanity could be up for review.

A more appropriate response to this review would be to apologize for their bad experience, and address the price issues. If your restaurant does have fluctuating prices, that should be noted in store and online so customers are prepared. There can certainly be reasons for this practice but it should be transparent so customers aren’t surprised.

2.

This one isn’t quite as extreme as the last, and could very well be true. However, this response is tinged with sarcasm and, if true, reveals unnecessary personal information. An apology in this case would have been better—state that you were unavailable for serious personal reasons, list that it was no excuse to not communicate with customers and let them know it won’t happen again. Offer them a discount or other incentive on a future booking should they be in town again.

If for some reason the situation is an emergency that keeps you away from your work, and you don’t have someone who can help you out with your business in this way, maybe think about hiring an assistant.

3.

As a business owner, your responses should not look like it was written by a ten year old

…and this one is a great example of what that means. Sure, this review was not the classiest, but the appropriate response would be to take the higher ground. As always, apologize! If you were having a bad day, admit that you were and say it was wrong of you to take it out on customers. Depending on what the prices are, they could be explained/defended in some way. Maybe point out that your aim is not to be cheap but to provide quality food.

What review responses come down to is the old adage “The customer is always right”. They may really not be, but your job as a business owner is to represent yourself and your company in the best way possible, no matter what others are provoking you to do. Responses can always be formulated to be reasonable even when defending oneself, but if you don’t have the time to compose something that is well thought out, apologies are the best policy.

Happy review reading, everyone!

How to Respond to Internet Trolls

goatsIf you blog or are active on social media, you’ve likely come across a troll or two. They aren’t hard to miss. A comment from one sticks out like a sore thumb. This is because their comment usually has nothing to do with the conversation at hand. It exists solely with the purpose of ruffling a few feathers, whether that means pointing out a small grammar mistake, stirring up controversy, or using profanity. The first step to dealing with a troll, is recognizing that you have a troll on your hands. Not every negative comment has a troll on the other end, so it’s important that you can decipher between someone who is genuinely miffed and someone who is present with the intentions of upsetting people. Trolls have sadistic characteristics, deliberately offend, and crave attention. When you know for sure that you’re dealing with a troll, keep these following points in mind.

Don’t Feed the Trolls

Trolls want a reaction. They want to see you upset, flustered, and frustrated. Don’t give them the satisfaction. The secret to defeating a troll is to deprive them of what they want. Respond reservedly and concisely. State the facts, and move on. Or, better yet, do nothing. By responding to their comments, you are “feeding the troll”, or adding fuel to the fire. The best thing to do is ignore them. This is not advice we would usually give about responding to comments, but this is the way to go when it comes to trolls. They are not worth your time or energy.

Defend Your Readers

Sure, the internet is full of terrible people. But there are a lot of good people, too – people who will come to your defense in the comments section. While this level of loyalty is a rewarding aspect of blogging, it can quickly turn ugly. As mentioned, the best way to defeat a troll is not paying them any mind. Your readers may not know this, so they may unknowingly give the troll more ammo to cause harm. Your duty as a blogger, or social media administrator, is to have their back in the comments section.

Use Trolls to Increase Engagement

We’ve pointed at the importance of responding to negative comments in a calm and cool manner before, and while you should always be respectful, don’t be afraid to get a little cheeky here. Look for holes in their logic. Not only can outwitting a troll be enough to get them to back off, your sass may catch the attention of others.

Delete Comments

In a previous post, we recommended that you should avoid deleting a negative comment –  it’s always an opportunity to show how far you will go to find a solution to a specific problem. However, if a comment exists with the only intent to hurt people or if it contains extreme vulgarity, then you should remove it. Deleting a comment should always be your last resort. There is nothing stopping them from writing another post.

Final Thoughts

At LinkNow Media, we urge you to be active on social media and blogs. Don’t let a few rotten apples keep you from starting a blog or creating a social media profile for your small business. As long as the internet exists, there will be trolls. Understand their behavior and know the appropriate ways to respond, and you’ll always come out on top.

How to Push Down a Negative Review

pushIn previous posts, we’ve talked about ways you can turn a negative review into an opportunity to show your clients how far you will go to meet their satisfaction. This week we’re offering advice about what to do when individuals share unfavorable opinions about your business on their personal blog or website.

Dealing with A Negative Blogger?

Everyone has something on the internet they wish would disappear. You can get on your knees and plead to Google all you want to remove the article from search results, but unless legal action is warranted, it is very unlikely that Google will remove the post. Of course, you always have the option of calling whoever wrote the review and explain your side of the story, but the chances of them taking it down are slim to nothing. You also run the risk of opening an old wound and making matters worse. That’s the last thing you want to happen.

If you can’t remove it, MOVE IT!

Most people do not go past the first page of Google’s search results when searching for a product or service, so getting the negative mention to appear on the second or third page is the goal here. This process is called Online Reputation Management (ORM), and it can be done by blogging, link building, citations management, or building a profile on any social media page, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Tumblr. Here are some ORM tips:

Blog Away!

A blog is an effective way to push a negative review to the second page of Google, and you don’t have to limit yourself to just one. Most industries lend themselves to a few different categories. If you’re an interior designer, for example, you can dedicate one blog to home decorating and another to office furniture trends. You’re only limited by your imagination. Consider using visuals, such as videos, GIFs, and Memes. With content becoming more interactive, your blog needs to engage and entertain your audience. Visuals can make your blog more attractive by breaking up chunks of text and provide visitors with a great experience.

Build Links!

Negative reviews hurt any way you slice it. Unlike review sites, where it’s in your best interest to respond, you’ll need to use a different tactic when it comes to websites and blog posts that are devoted entirely to hurting your business’s reputation. Building links to positive reviews is an effective way to move down an outlandish claim, while at the time shedding light on the good stuff. The last thing you want to do is make any references to the site or blog that contains the negative review, so avoid pointing any links in their direction.

Clean Up Citations!

Citations are mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on the internet. It is important that this information is accurate and consistent across the board. Any discrepancy, such as your address appearing differently on Yelp than on Facebook, will cause Google to doubt the validity of your business, thus hurting your ranking. Cleaning up your citations is the process of making sure your NAP is the same across the board. This can be a tedious job, especially if your business is on the older side. If you don’t have time to hunt down this information, team up with a digital marketing company that offers citation management services.

Use Social Media!

Pushing a negative mention from the first page of Google to the second page isn’t going to happen overnight. Outperforming a scathing review takes time and effort. Creating a new social media account can help – but that’s only half of it – you’ll need to post regularly. If you don’t have time to manage your social media pages, you should consider enlisting the help of a social media specialist.

Closing

Harsh criticism is never fun, especially when the attacks are unwarranted. We recommend doing some serious ORM if you want to save face. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be.

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