You’ve heard it before… web 2.0 has made the customer king. And this king tends to use their powers for “evil” not good (so much). If unprompted, customers are more likely to post bad reviews when they are unhappy then to post good ones when they are happy. It’s not unusual to to see a business with 3 bad reviews out of 4 or 5 total.
What make this agonizing is that searchers really do read and give much weight to reviews on third party sites. I have seen first hand how a well managed reputation can lead to sales and a poor one can hurt a businesses opportunities
What’s a business to do? Well even if you make customer service your first priority as EVERY business in the world claims to you can still have this problem. So here are some suggestions to manage the this problem. Every Internet marketing strategy should include online reputation management.
The first problem is the tendency for people to only post when they are unhappy. Every business needs a policy of encouraging happy customers to post a review. Tell them how much it would mean to you, maybe give them an incentive. And try and make it easy for them to post. Maybe email a link to them.
Reply to the negative posts. Don’t just let them sit their staring you down, giving you nightmares. If you really do have good customer service skills this is the time to use them. Respond as if this person called you and was very unhappy. I hope that you would respond in a mature, thoughtful manner. You might even offer them something for free
An unhappy customer can become a great opportunity. If you make that person your friend they will tell others. Searchers who read the negative review will also see your amazing response. This complainer won’t even have to tell anyone how great you were, it will be right there for everyone to see.
The other good thing about the negative reviews is that it gives legitimacy to the good ones. A business with great!!! reviews only looks suspicious.
So don’t be afraid of negative on line reviews. Put in place an ongoing campaign to develop good reviews and handle the bad ones when they come. That’s how to placate the King.