5 Tips to Tackling Negative Reviews

Owning Your Online Reputation

Despite your best efforts, it is almost impossible to please every customer who visits your dealership. Sometimes you simply can’t accommodate their needs, and other times their demands are unreasonable (not that you should tell them that).

Unfortunately, this means you are going to see some negative reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, or other popular business review sites. It’s important to address these reviews and let the customer know you are listening to her.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when responding to negative reviews:

1. Respond Quickly

Keeping track of every review posted about your dealership can be time consuming, but it’s important to monitor popular review sites so you can respond to negative reviews as quickly as possible. Customers appreciate when you address their concerns right away, and this can rebuild some of their goodwill toward your business.

2. Take Responsibility

It’s natural to be defensive when reading negative reviews, but it’s important to view the customer’s complaint as objectively as possible, and admit when you’ve made a mistake. The words “I’m sorry” go a long way, and a lot of the time that’s all the customer wants to hear. If you feel angry or upset after reading a review, walk away and return to it later; a belated response is better than an aggressive one.

3. Address the Customer’s Specific Complaint

When you do respond to the customer’s negative review, make sure you are as specific as possible. Customers don’t want to read cookie-cutter responses to their concerns; tailor your message to each customer’s individual complaint. Your words will have much more impact if you do.

4. Message the Customer Privately

If possible, message customers privately so you can avoid a potentially drawn-out conversation that anyone can see. You should add a short public comment, though, that informs the customer you’ve messaged them and are sorry for their bad experience with your business. This shows other customers and potential customers that you care about what they have to say and take the time to listen to them.

5. Move the Conversation Offline

In your private messages to reviewers, discuss ways to remedy the situation offline. Suggest that they call or email your business’s general manager or customer care representative, or invite them to a private meeting at your business. Moving the conversation offline will stop drawing unwanted attention to the negative review. Once the issue is resolved, ask the customer to update her review so that other readers know your business fixed the problem.

The bottom line—think about how you would want a business to respond if you wrote a negative review about them. Common courtesy and respect go a long way. If you keep that in mind, as well as the tips mentioned above, you’ll have no problem mending fences and forging even stronger customer relationships.

For more reputation management insight, watch this complimentary webinar replay, Reputation Management Secrets Revealed!

Kate Nolen is a Digital PR Coordinator at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia area advertising agency.

Kate Nolen

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