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Social Media: How to deal with bad reviews

In a past blog post, we discussed the power of testimonials and why having customers share their experiences on social media and other online platforms is a good thing for your business. Today's blog post looks at the other end of the scale, where negative reviews can have an adverse affect, and how to deal with them.

Firstly, it's important to point out that having a number of reviews (both diverse and different in subject matter) is a great thing to have. The more reviews you have that are genuine, rated highly and written either constructively or appropriately, the better. The bottom line is that people read reviews.

In the world of Social Media, potential clients or customers can access information about your business or services easily and without too much hassle. Most people do a lot of research before working with a company or purchasing a product or service. Your business is no different and you can expect to be researched, have reviews read and your social media presence, and website, under scrutiny.

Unfortunately, with the world wide web available to anyone and it now being considered a Human Right, that also means anyone can take to Social Media to write about their opinions and experiences about your business.

If you do happen to have a customer or client write a negative review about you, the first thing you need to remember is that they have a right to their view. They've shared an opinion on your product or services and they've posted it online. Some reviews are genuine, and in this case if it is a client or customer you have worked with, and you can rectify the situation with a public apology/ some form of reimbursement or offer then that's fine.

However, if you get a review and you don't have any recollection of working with the client or customer, and you suspect that it's a "fake" review, you're not the only one to have faced this issue and there are a number of things that you can do.

So what do you do if you get a negative review, that is genuine?

Sometimes brands get feedback about decisions they've made that their customers/clients aren't happy with. Take Wagamama for example. A Japanese restaurant chain, found that when they revamped their menu and mixed it up by removing a number of dishes to replace them with new ones, that customers were unhappy about the disappearance of their favourite dish.

Listening to your consumer feedback is so important. With hundreds of people taking to Social Media to let them know that the dish was being missed, it was soon reintroduced to the menu with a "I'm back!" sign to show people that Wagamama listen to it's customers.

Sometimes brands get feedback about a service or product of theirs that is not working as it should. O2 in particular are great at getting back to people on Twitter where they are constantly troubleshooting and dealing with problems whether it's signal, technical issues with the hand sets or their website. A lesson to learn from O2 is that a quick response and an apology can save a customer from parting ways with your service, and handling it in a calm and cool way can also mean that the customer will come away from the experience content as well.

So when you get a review that is genuine, suck it up and apologise firstly. Other customers and clients will enjoy a refreshingly honest business that is happy to admit when they are wrong and do all they can to rectify the situation.

So what do you do if you get a negative review, that is NOT genuine?

The first thing you can do is report the review to the platform it has been posted on. This might be Trip Advisor, Facebook, Google+ or other. If you have information that the person who has posted has never been in business with you, purchased an item or service from you and has no association with your business whatsoever, then you need to make sure that the third party service you are using is notified about it.

It's always preferable to remove a fake review entirely, but if that's just not possible, you can still defend your good reputation with a response. Real or fake, positive or negative, it's always a good idea to respond to every review

You must always respond politely and professionally, perhaps something like this: "Thank you for your review. We take these matters very seriously. However, we have no record or recollection of any customer experience fitting your story and description. Due to this, we have flagged this as a fake review."

While it's not always possible to remove a fake review, many review sites place an emphasis on trustworthy information and are eager to filter and remove reviews that are clearly not truthful. In addition to reporting fake reviews for removal, it's also a good idea to establish a positive review presence on websites that have a solid removal policy.

The best thing to take from this is that at some point you may get a negative review. But dealing with it in a professional and calm way could actually mean that you gain the trust and respect of potential or existing clients and customers. If you have a number of positive reviews and one or two negative ones, the positives will always outweigh the bad. Not everyone is perfect and it's not possible to control everything that is said about your business online.

Take a look at Toolkit Websites reviews!