Every business loves targeted, organic traffic from the search engines. Your potential clients eagerly punch in those buying keywords to actively seek your business and make their next purchase.
Positive reviews from sites such as Yelp, Foursquare and especially Google Places (aka Google Plus Local) not only further boost your search engine rankings, they also provide customers with the confidence they need to get out their credit cards.
So what happens when the money you so wisely invested in SEO has your client scared off by a negative review appearing in the search results? No company will have 100% positive reviews 100% of the time. Staying on top of your company reviews should be a key component of your marketing strategy.
Here’s how to do it:
1. You Should Be the First to Know
Any time a negative comment or review’s posted about your company, you should know first. Spotting any negative feedback before it does damage means staying on top of your Internet presence. You could consider the following strategies:
- Set up e-mail notifications on company social media accounts
- Assign 1-2 (or more) members of staff to monitoring social media channels
- Inform all company employees to report any negative feedback immediately
- Set up Google Alerts, experiment with different keywords to receive notifications directly to your mail.
- Interact and build rapport and positivity with your clients on your Google Places account
The more awareness your company has of how clients are speaking about it, the easier it will be to spot the bad review quickly.
2. Analyze the Bad Review
If you do find a bad review, first consider its legitimacy. Sad as it may seem, so-called “trolls” spend their writing bad reviews for no other reason than to cause people problems and try to extract an angry response.
Act. Don’t react. Firstly, check their profile to see if this is typical behavior of this individual and if you suspect trolling simply remove any comments wherever possible. A word of caution though; censoring unhappy customers will usually cause more problems than it will solve in the short-term.
3. Try to Get The Review Changed
Sometimes the review or username will give away the identity of the displeased customer. Wherever possible, engage a dialogue with your client to resolve the situation and win them over. Offer an exchange, refund, do-over or whatever’s necessary to appease them.
Your aim here is to rebuild such a strong rapport with their client in solving the problem, that mentioning the negative review after the situation’s resolved will see them offering to do so easily.
If the customer’s stubborn and irreconcilable, ask Google to delete the message. Simply flag it as inappropriate and explain the reasons why. There are no guarantees, but you could get lucky.
4. Leave a Professional Rebuttal
If you’re unable to contact the person who left the review, leave a public response. It may be hard, but try to be humble and thank the person for the feedback, apologizing for their negative experience. Mention how you’d like to resolve the situation and offer several suggestions.
This can both resolve the issue in question and show potential customers that you’re level headed and you care about customer service.
5. Bury the Negative Review With Positive Ones
Nothing takes care of the negative reviews like many positive reviews. As a general rule, you should aim for three to five positive reviews for every negative one you receive. Offer incentives for customers who leave reviews on your Google Places page. Different options could include:
- Create a QR discount code, distributing it in your store or other marketing materials
- Ask customers who had great experiences to leave a quick review
- Consider offering Starbucks or Amazon vouchers the positive reviews
If you can urge those satisfied customers to act, that negative comment you were so worried about will soon get washed away in a sea of positivity.
About The Guest Author: Jacob Puhl is Co-founder of Firegang Digital Marketing, a local SEO, web design and digital marketing agency for small businesses. To contact Jacob, email jacobpuhl at firegang.com or follow him on twitter @jacobpuhl
Bad Feedback Photo via Shutterstock