We live in the era of social media and because of the far-reaching aspects of social media, the world of customer service, reputation and reviews have changed the way many business owners are forced to do business and drastically so.
This phenomena has led to some very powerful elements that customers and rival businesses can use. Such social media as Yelp and Facebook can literally cause a business to shut down almost overnight. News travels fast in social media. Bad news travels even faster. This means one bad experience with your business or service and the death knell could very well ring soundly.
The problem, and solution, rests squarely on how well you, the business owner, treat their customers. Even then, some more unscrupulous businesses will hire people specifically to post reviews on their rivals – leaving negative commentary and comments to hinder, hurt and destroy competition. This is unethical but little can be done.
Online Reviews - Hindrance or Life-saver?
Many who are going to be looking to try something new or different from their regular routines will frequently turn to the Internet and review sites such as Yelp for information. It is here, behind the anonymity of the Internet, that real reviews, thoughts and feelings about a service or product will lie openly for everyone to read. Again, this can be a hindrance or a life-saver. What this will eventually come down to is how well customers are treated.
Bad reviews are much more common than positive reviews and the reason is simple. People will simply forget the good experiences quickly. A good experience is one that the human brain does not dwell on, and it is pushed out, for lack of a better term, for other experiences. A good way to look at this: Imagine a morning commute where everything goes smoothly. The experience is so ordinary that it is quickly forgotten. However, change that ordinary commute into one that is only a step from falling into the pits of Hades itself. This experience, the negative one, will stay with a person much longer than the positive. It is only human nature. It is also why it is vitally important to manage and respond to negativity on the Internet about a business swiftly and with diligence.
Ways to Respond to a Bad or Negative Review
There are a few ways to respond to a bad or negative review. The first thing to do is remove the personal feelings of attack from the review. The experience could have been because of external factors, so removing yourself from the review is wise. Besides, taking it personally will result in attacking the messenger instead of addressing the problem for the bad review. This, the problem, should be the goal to revisit and revise.
Take any negative review and learn from it. Glean as much information as possible from the review and use it as a learning tool. There will be something in the review that will give pause; this is the time to take the review and learn.
Many wish to get as many positive reviews and opinions as possible. Again, much like using anonymity and social media to post false reviews, this can be seen as unethical for many. Instead, offer a venue to guests and customers on how they can, freely, post reviews and opinions about the service or products. Realize that many will simply choose to ignore this, but the ones who do may appreciate a small token. A reward for their time, such as a discount, is a great way to entice more and better reviews from honest customers. If there is a place to allow them to give suggestions and advice, by all means take it – and use it.
Online reviews are not going away, but there are online reputation management tips and techniques to maintain the best possible reviews.