When negative reviews of your business’s products or services are logged publicly on your own website you can quickly respond and immediately begin to repair the harm. Although it may involve some work, you are in control and can take many different directions to right the wrong.
With the proliferation of third-party sites that host forums on a wide variety of products and issues and that also rate online businesses your company can be the victim of adverse commentary without your even being aware of it. Once you find you are the victim of such prejudicial opinions and concerns you need to react with all due speed but also with wisdom and caution.
Visit the Forum That Criticized Your Company
Someone in your company with real power to affect change must post a response. This post must clearly identify it is from a stakeholder at your company. The purpose of the post is not to argue or boast but to try to gather information and remedy the situation. A friendly, upbeat tone and a clear method to contact a problem solver at your business should be used. For smaller businesses a response from the owner sets the right tone while a member of the upper management team in a larger company is impressive but believable.
Report Back to that Outside Forum with the Results of Your Intervention
Regardless of the result of your company’s offer to investigate and find a solution, come back to the forum after the issue has been resolved. This will show you are willing to go that extra mile and will also temper your dealings with the aggrieved party. Your aura of calm respect will be obvious to other visitors to that forum. If the original poster is now satisfied it can also be an endorsement of your company and its way of doing business. If the poster is still unsatisfied your enumeration of the steps you took to fix the problem will speak for itself.
Admit Your Mistake and Apologize
Take this opportunity to review your internal procedures and be open to discovering chinks in your business armor. Even if the disgruntled customer or zealous investigator seems unreasonable in their position find a way to respond to their concerns gratefully and gracefully. This situation can really be an eye opener for your company and the right response by you can increase your understanding of your market and improve your reputation at the same time.
When you find a problem did occur on your end, accept responsibility and indicate what steps your company has taken to cure this particular fault and to avoid similar issues in the future. Apologize sincerely and thank all for their diligence and patience while your improved product or service is moved into place.
Become More Vigilant in the Future
Make sure someone in the company is monitoring trade forums and outside rating sites. Search the web regularly to find reference to your business. Invite your own customers to post reviews of your services and products on your own site, but resist any temptation to entice positive reviews with rewards. If a customer posts a negative review on your site respond and repair the situation and do not simply delete the concern. Use this as another opening to show your ethical and proactive business practices.