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VOL. 41 | NO. 14 | Friday, April 7, 2017

Timely response can turn bad review into win

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It’s a Catch-22 type of situation. You need to put your business out there in this age of social media, but in doing so, you open yourself up to criticism, bad reviews and the like.

Despite the risks, social media is a marketing tactic that is a must for most companies. If you aren’t out there, your competitors are, and that is riskier than the possibility of a bad review.

Knowing you won’t please all of the people all of the time, understand that an occasional bad review will happen. Knowing what to do next is key.

The best practice in handling a bad review is to always respond. It is never advisable to avoid the situation and hope it will go away. That will only make the customer angrier and may result in more negative comments.

How you respond is critically important. Whether you agree or disagree with the comment, apologize for the less-than-pleasant experience had by the customer, as their feelings are valid, right or wrong.

Whatever you do, do not make excuses and do not engage in a back-and-forth argument. Public discourse has the potential to throw your company into crisis mode, and the original negative review will be the least of your concerns.

In addition to an apology, your initial response should alert the customer, as well as your readers, that you plan to resolve the situation offline. Privately message the customer and find out what you can do to rectify the situation.

Once resolved, and the customer is satisfied – or even happy – with the outcome, kindly ask them to remove their poor review.

If it was just a post, simply ask them to comment on how the issue was resolved.

You now have the opportunity to shine. On the original post, compliment the customer for their willingness to work with you, and then reiterate your company’s customer-service policy.

Next, through content marketing, take the opportunity to showcase the positives of your company by pulling out those testimonials from satisfied customers. Include their pictures to make them real people to the readers. Highlight your company’s cause-related marketing efforts – how you have helped the community recently. A little goodwill goes a long way.

Sound daunting? It truly isn’t, but it is time-consuming. Business owners need to be kept abreast of all activity with their social media accounts and respond in a timely manner.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the time commitment, consider outsourcing social media management to a qualified marketing agency.

Lori Turner-Wilson, CEO and founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at redrovercompany.com.