Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Managing You Online Business Reviews

Working in the marketing field, I am frequently approached with questions from people I meet through friends and family.  Recently, I was asked if I felt it was ok to have a company’s employees leave positive reviews online in order to make the bad reviews seem less relevant.  My response — absolutely not!
Upon further discussion with this individual, I learned more about the situation.  Apparently there had been some issues with the company’s online ordering that was available on the website.  When customers were not receiving their orders on time or in some cases at all, they started giving bad reviews online through sites like Yelp and Bing.  As traffic started to decrease due to the site, managers started making up profiles to leave positive reviews and also asked the employees to do the same.  This is not only a bad business practice, but it has also made the employees feel very uncomfortable.
There is no reason to cover up bad online reviews by pushing them further down the list with positive ones.  First of all, it is very difficult to put yourself in the mind of the consumer and write a review about yourself.  Oftentimes people can tell it was not something an actual customer wrote.  Secondly, it’s just bad practice.  What would people think about your business if they knew that you actually placed your own positive reviews online?
Of course when we see a bad online review, we automatically panic and think the worst.  Don’t freak out.  You can actually turn a bad review into your best ally.  You cannot just let the bad review sit there.  Respond to it and address the situation.  Most times when the person who wrote the bad review sees that you have responded and that you care about them as a customer, they will show their appreciation for that and interact with you.  Even if you do not make that person happy, the public can now see that you have made an effort to rectify the situation, which will in turn, gain their trust.
There are also inevitably those customers that you just cannot satisfy and it seems like they are just complaining for the sake of complaining.  If you have done all that you can to address the situation and they still post a bad review then you should respond accordingly.  People can tell which reviews are justified and which are not.  Take this review from Prime Pool Market for example:

They have obviously reached out to this customer and were unsuccessful in making them happy, so they felt that they should respond accordingly.  You can also see by the review just below it that not everyone feels the same way.

It is so important to come across to your customers as genuine and authentic.  They will see right through a façade, which will only turn them off to your business, and possibly spread the word to other potential customers.

No comments: