Companies in yesteryear never had to deal with the transparency issues of today. Thanks to social media, any person, whether justified or not, can write a crippling review that can, and will, impact your business. But what protocol should you have in place to deal with these reviews? If you’re not addressing these issues, you are seriously damaging your business. Follow these golden rules to make sure that your business always shines.
1. Monitor What Is Being Said
You can’t correct something if you don’t know it’s a problem. That being said- it’s almost impossible for you to have eyes all over the internet. Your best method to monitor your reputation is to employ a few tools that will alert you when your business is mentioned somewhere. The best FREE tools that you can use are Google Alerts, SocialMention, Technorati, Klout, and Twilert. All of these are free, and some of them offer some pretty impressive and sophisticated dashboards. Google Alerts will send you an email every time your company or employees are mentioned. Technorati is great at alerting blog postings that mention your business, and Twilert is great for tweet comments and mentions. Still think you need more information? You can pay for some of the leading tools in the realm of online reputation. These include Cision and IBM Congnos Consumer Insight.
2. Uhh Oh. Someone said something negative.
Before you start reacting, yelling over the internet, and getting frustrated- take a minute. Who mentioned your business in a negative light? Was it an ex-employee, a competitor, a difficult customer, or a legitimate complaint? Many of these one off negative reviews can be buried with glowing reviews. Most readers understand that you can’t please all people. If a picky customer or ex-employee wrote something negative, entice other customers and employees to write sparkling reviews.
3. The complaint is legitimate.
If the negative review is justified, then do all you can (preferably publicly through the same online source that they used to post the negative review) to remedy the situation. Show that you are sorry, that this is not normal, and offer to make amends. If it was an industry journalist/blogger, reach out and see if there is something you can do to have them change their minds and write a follow-up piece. Be as civil as possible and make sure you never act negatively back. If you handle the situation well, others will know that you do not take negative feedback lightly and are a serious business.
4. The complaint is unjustified.
Wait a minute- that complaint was posted by a competitor posing as an unhappy customer. Well there’s going to be no making amends on this one. However, just because it’s the internet doesn’t mean that there aren’t laws in place for just this. If it’s libelous, you can take action. A cease and desist letter from an attorney’s office will most likely get them to take down the unjustified comments.
5. Learn from this.
Reviews aren’t just for other customers to learn more about your business. It’s a great way for small businesses to learn how to appease their customers and dominate their local market. For example: If someone mentions that the customer service help line was slow to answer the questions, put procedures in place to remedy this situation.
This is just another way to make sure that you are getting the most out of all your social media marketing efforts. Remember a good defense is a good offense. With each and every customer you interact with keep in mind that their opinions matter and can be heard.