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Online reputation management: How to navigate negative reviews

Online Reputation Management: How to Navigate Negative Reviews

As a business owner, it can be difficult to hear negative feedback about your company. While there are many reasons why people might leave you a bad review, it’s important to remember that bad reviews are a normal and inevitable part of doing business. Tempting though it may be to ignore or delete negative reviews, a better business strategy is to take the time to respond and address any concerns raised. Not only can this help to diffuse the situation and potentially turn a disgruntled customer into a satisfied one, but it also shows other potential customers that you are willing to listen and make things right. In this article, we’ll provide some tips and strategies for effectively responding to bad reviews and protecting your reputation online.

Monitor your online reputation

Reviews and ratings are a big part of your small business’s online reputation. By providing valuable insights into how customers perceive your business, they help identify any recurring issues that may be affecting its reputation. This means regularly checking sites like Google, Yelp, TrustPilot, and Facebook for reviews.

Responding to both positive and negative feedback is the first step in successful online reputation management. It can help protect and enhance your business’s reputation, which is essential for attracting and retaining customers.

When it comes to negative feedback, taking the necessary steps to address the concerns raised, such as making changes to products or services, improving customer service, or addressing any other issues that may be causing frustration, will demonstrate that you care about your customers’ experiences and are committed to improving your business.

Many tools, such as Magic, can help small businesses with online reputation management, and empower them to detect a bad review, respond to a complaint, and identify any problem areas in their online presence.

However, the most important thing to remember is that monitoring online reputation is only the first step. The real goal is to manage it well by improving customer service, responding to complaints, and de-emphasising negative press.

Responding promptly to reviews

Responding promptly to reviews and thanking customers for their feedback is crucial for maintaining a positive reputation and building strong relationships. While a response is not a substitute for an actual experience, it does show that a business takes customer responsibility seriously and is committed to providing the best possible experience for everyone.

Customers appreciate knowing that their voices are heard and their feedback is taken into consideration, and a prompt response can help foster a positive reputation, even in the face of a negative review. If they feel like their needs are being met, they’re more likely to come back and recommend the business.

And the statistics don’t lie! A recent report by SiteJabber found that 80% of consumers expected to receive a response to a review within two weeks, and that over half of the customers who had a negative experience with a business would give them another chance if their review received a personal response.

Professional conduct

Every small business owner needs to understand how to respond to bad reviews to help protect their reputation and prevent negative feedback from affecting their business.

It can be easy to get defensive or upset when reading a negative review, but it’s important to remain calm and take a few moments to collect your thoughts before responding. This will help you come across as professional and show that you are taking the review seriously.

Starting a response by thanking customers for their feedback is a simple yet effective way to show appreciation for their business and their willingness to share their thoughts, and it can go a long way in building a positive relationship with them. And while you want to be friendly and approachable, maintaining a level of formality in your response will help you come across as professional and respectful.

If the review points out a legitimate issue or problem, it’s important to apologise for any inconvenience or negative experience the reviewer may have had. If the problem can be addressed, consider offering a solution or proposing a course of action to resolve it. This shows that you care about your customers, take responsibility for any mistakes, and are willing to go above and beyond to make things right. It’s also important to keep your response to the issues raised concise and to the point because a lengthy response may come across as insincere.

Apologising when something is your business’s fault

Many businesses are afraid to admit a mistake, but apologising when something is their fault is a key part of protecting their reputation. However, it doesn’t have to be an awkward experience. There are simple steps to apologising that will help a business.

The first step is to consider what lessons were learned before deciding on the best way to apologise. An apology can be done in person, over video chat, or it can be made public, as in the case of reviews. A public apology can provide justice to an aggrieved customer who has been affected by the mistake.

It’s always important to remember that apologies are meant to heal relationships. 

Tips to building positive relationships with customers

Building positive relationships with customers is not just important for business, it’s also an effective marketing tool. The Harvard Business Review says that retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones, and happy customers not only spend more money, but they also recommend the brand to their friends.

By following these tips, you can create and grow a loyal customer base:

  • Build trust: Trust is the foundation of any positive relationship and is especially important when it comes to business. To build trust with your customers, be transparent, responsive, and reliable. If you make a mistake, admit it and take steps to make it right.
  • Communicate effectively: Good communication is key to building positive relationships with customers. Make sure to listen carefully to their needs and concerns, and communicate clearly and concisely. Use language that is easy to understand and avoid jargon or technical terms that may be confusing.
  • Show appreciation: A little appreciation can go a long way in building positive relationships with customers. Show customers that you value their business by thanking them for their purchases, offering personalised recommendations, and providing excellent customer service.
  • Go the extra mile: Going above and beyond for customers can help foster positive relationships and build loyalty. Look for opportunities to provide exceptional service or to add value to your customer’s experience.
  • Solve problems quickly: When issues arise, it’s important to address them quickly and effectively. Solving problems promptly can help build trust and strengthen customer relationships.

Key takeaway

Responding to bad reviews and protecting your reputation is a crucial aspect of running a successful business. 

By following the tips outlined in this article, you can effectively address negative feedback, manage your online reputation, and mitigate the impact. Remember to stay calm, listen to the customer, and offer a solution rather than getting defensive. By showing that you care about your customers and are willing to go the extra mile to resolve their issues, you can turn a negative situation into an opportunity to improve your business and strengthen your relationship with your customers. 

Ultimately, by taking a proactive approach to online reputation management, you can ensure that your business is seen in the best light possible and continue to attract new customers.

About Magic

Magic helps local businesses grow. Thousands of local businesses use Magic to get more online reviews, win new customers, easily manage customer conversations and grow sales. Magic offers these features:

  • Reviews: Get more reviews with easy review requests for popular review sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, TrustPilot, and more. Rank high on local search and enhance your visibility on Google. 
  • Inbox: Keep track of customer conversations across channels in one inbox, including SMS, Facebook, Instagram, and Gmail. Manage conversations better as a team and do more with industry specific templates. 
  • Text Marketing: Drive more sales with instant text campaigns and reach your customers at the right moment with automation. Use prebuilt templates to send out text campaigns in minutes. 
  • Webchat: Turn website visitors into customers with SMS powered Webchat. Chat to website visitors directly through SMS so you won’t miss a lead, even when they leave your website. 

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