It happens to the best of us.
As the owner of a company, you pride yourself on delivering top quality service and products. You spend time training your
employees to deliver the best customer service, and you listen to your customers when there is an issue.
Then one day, it happens: You get a negative
review on your blog or a negative comment on your Facebook page. This is when you need to put a policy in place on how to manage negativity about your
Here are a few simple steps to get you started:
1. Cool off.
The first thing you should do before responding to a negative review online is take a minute to clear your head and compose yourself.
Business owners pride
themselves on running top-notch companies. When an ugly review gets posted, a common first instinct is to respond unkindly. This actually does more damage
to your company because not only have you lost that customer, you’ve shown the rest of your audience how you react in a crisis.
Before you write
anything, take a step back and write some of your thoughts out on paper.
After you have reached a place of calm, do research to make sure that the complaint is legitimate. Occasionally businesses have found that both
competitors and disgruntled ex-employees have posted false negative reviews in order to drag the business down.
If it turns out that the review in question
is fake, either remove it or contact the site’s administrators to remove it. There’s no need to get in a tussle over a bogus complaint.
3. Stay positive.
If the review or comment turns out to be genuine, respond to it positively.
This is your opportunity to not only repair the damage with that particular
customer, but also to demonstrate to the rest of the readers that your company values making things right. Write a genuine apology and offer to take the
steps needed to mitigate the issue.
4. Use the information.
Whether this is the first time a complaint has been made or if your company has faced similar issues before, use the information as feedback.
In this way,
the negative reviewers can almost serve as business consultants. They point out both the positive and negative of your company and provide insight on how
RELATED: Want to get your employees involved and active online? Download our free guide: 6 steps to crafting an internal social media plan.
In business, it’s often taught to think that even when a customer is wrong, they are still right.
On the Internet, nothing ever really dies.
How you respond demonstrates your company’s culture. Use bad reviews and your responses in a future post or article to illustrate what sets
your company apart from competitors.
Mickie Kennedy is the founder of eReleases and the author of "The Advanced Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases." A version of this article originally appeared on PR Fuel.