Tips for dealing with negative online reviews

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The internet has handed customers (especially angry ones) a platform and a megaphone that can be heard around the world … and the old ways of handling this negativity and defending yourself, or your company, are basically useless in this day and age. If any construction company is caught in the crossfire of angry clients, they will need a serious strategy to deal with any negative complaints & reviews as directly and as quickly as possible.

Nowadays, instead of simply getting one person’s response, you are flooded with hundreds or even thousands of reviews on various sites with various opinions that make it nearly impossible to know what actually is meaningful anymore. The issues for companies affected by this sort of thing? People (especially when they’re online) tend to trust other people just like them rather than a corporate entity or any sort of publication. There has been a power shift from business to other consumers, giving them the power to influence. Companies aren’t just being found online anymore either … they’re being researched. So, no longer are companies in the driver’s seat. Instead, they’re standing by, hoping to get picked by any potential clients that are researching them.

The most unfortunate part of the entire online review process is that many times it’s impossible to tell who said what, as hundreds of online users leave reviews and comments anonymously every day. If any negative reviews are directed at your company, how do you respond? Unfortunately, you can’t. As long as the post is done anonymously, there is no personal information attached to their response so you will not be able to track them down and contact them directly.

So, how does your company stop any reviews or comments from going unnoticed? You and your employees need to constantly listen to the conversations that take place online. By listening, it can help your company do the following things:
–  Learn what needs to be improved with your services or company
–  Learn what you are doing right
–  Find out any services that are wanted or needed
Listening for these reviews or comments is as simple as setting up a google alert for your company name to get daily or even immediate notifications of any mention of your business online.

Best way to combat any negative online review issues? First of all, try your hardest to prevent any customers from being compelled to write negative reviews in the first place. Of course, running a business isn’t easy and no matter how well it’s run, there’s always going to be a few customers that are unhappy with your service. In order to stop any customers from taking to the internet to complain, you always need to encourage any past, present or future clients to come to you first with any complaints. And on the off-chance that you are unable to stop any complaints from reaching the internet, follow these steps to further deal with any negative client reviews:

– If you’re immediately angered by a comment or review, take some time to calm down but still try to respond quickly, even if it’s just a simple acknowledgement that you have heard what they’ve said, are looking into it and will contact them directly soon if possible.

Verify the legitimacy of the complaint. If the customer is truly mistaken (or just vindictive), calmly respond to misunderstandings with a professional explanation.

Be transparent. If it is a true complaint, be honest, try to see things from your client’s point of view and be apologetic.

Solve the problem. A majority of customers understand that mistakes happen, so they are really just wanting it to be resolved and reassured in some way.

If you can inject a little humor or positivity, try to do so. A little humor and positive spin can defuse many problematic situations and set the stage for a calm conversation.

But remember, prevention is better than any cure. These types of situations can often be avoided by avoiding any situations that would cause your customers to be unhappy, encouraging them to come to you if they are unhappy with anything and staying tuned in to social media and review sites at all times. Encourage your current, satisfied customers to proactively share their genuine experiences and recommendations online. When you have genuine positive reviews out there, other consumers are smart enough to sniff out and ignore one random negative review in a sea of positive ones!

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