Your Monday morning was going just fine … until you saw a negative post on social media about how your company is bad, your employees are bad, your products are bad, and your prices are, well, bad.
Now your mood is bad, and you are probably also hurt, frustrated and feeling defensive. Sure, you are not perfect 100 percent of the time, but what these people were saying is simply not true.
While social media is a great way to attract new customers and tell them about your company, it is also a place where people can go to vent about their experiences. Fortunately, you don’t have to take these experiences lying down. In order to defend your business reputation online, consider the following approaches:
Address the Rumors and Myths in a Calm and Honest Way
If one disgruntled customer announces on social media that he heard you keep your employees’ tips, you serve under-cooked food or that you yell at your customers, this is definitely disconcerting. But if a group of people chime in with “Yeah, I heard that too,” then you have the makings of a major problem. Instead of ignoring these nasty comments and hoping they’ll go away, address them head on.
Respectfully state the truth and invite people to reach out to you directly with any additional questions and concerns. A company that took this approach really well is Amway; when the company realized people were asking “Is Amway a pyramid scheme?” it addressed the rumors head on, explaining how its business model actually works, and proved that it is definitely not a scam.
Pay Attention and Monitor Your Social Media Pages
Another effective way to handle bad reviews online is to closely monitor what is being said about your company on social media and review sites. You have to maintain a constant presence on Yelp, Google, Facebook and anywhere else your company can be reviewed. This will prevent online bullies from getting away with unfairly ripping your company, as well as missing the chance to apologize to customers who have a genuine complaint. While you are understandably busy running your company, you either have to set aside time to monitor the online reviews, or consider hiring an intern or other part-time employee to do this.
Whenever You Can, Make it Right
If you spot a negative review that has some merit to it—for instance, a customer was accidentally overcharged or received the wrong item—you should respond to the complaint both in the online review as well as by reaching out to the customer directly. Apologize sincerely that your customer had an unfavorable experience with your company and provide a solution to make it right. The people who read the customer’s negative reviews will probably also see your polite and helpful reply, and will come away feeling positive about your business. If you call the customer and skip replying online, people may feel you are ignoring the person and will remember your apparent lack of response.
Happy Customers are Your End Goal
It will never make your day to read a less-than-favorable review of your company online. But it does not have to be the end of the world. By closely monitoring what is being said about you and replying in an honest, calm and helpful way, you will end up appeasing those Negative Nellies and possibly transforming them into lifelong customers.