Reviews and testimonials are critical to any business. More and more today people need to see affirmation by others that you do a good job before they make a purchase decision. Displaying testimonials on your website and encouraging satisfied clients to review you online is key to small business marketing.
But what happens when someone posts a negative review?
It is an unpleasant nature of the openness of the internet and the reality of business that someone may become displeased with your services and may choose to publicize that.
First, before that ever happens, make sure that you claimed all of your listings on Yelp, the Yellow Pages, Google+, and other local sites. Once you register and confirm yourself as the business owner, you can manage that information more directly. Not only can you add photos and important information for people to see, but you can be notified when a review is posted.
Secondly, address it but keep it positive. In other words, don’t do this:
Respond to the reviewer, apologize for or address their issue, and try to get the conversation offline. Offer for them to contact you directly via email or phone so you can continue the conversation there instead of having a spat for the world to see. Once the conversation is out of the public eye, continue with positive discourse and a general interest in learning what went wrong for them. Some experts suggest providing them with a coupon or discount for their inconvenience.
Next, knock it down with positivity. Encourage more reviews, publish more quality content through posts on your blog, Facebook page, Google+ etc. to knock it off the 1st page of search engine results so people don’t see it as immediately. Make it the anomaly both in your online presence and through anything you need to change in your business practices.
While you can’t prevent negative reviews online or in social media, you can learn from them and address them in a way that defuses the situaiton.