On Monday we talked about the value of great online reviews and how to get more of them. The tradeoff (because there always is one) is that you also open yourself up to negative feedback in this process. Positive reviews and a solid presence online are well worth the price, but it’s important to know how to deal with negative reviews when they rear their heads. After all, a well-handled bad situation can do almost as much good as a positive review!

No matter how great your company and services may be, there will always be complaints. Inside Facebook has identified the major causes for complaints as:
– Delays in shipping a product
– Faulty or damaged products
– Poor service or perceived rudeness
– A public relations crisis

Whatever the concern, address it apologetically, let them know you appreciate the feedback, and do your best to solve the problem. This will benefit your relationship with the customer, and also show other people who follow your brand that you value customer satisfaction.

If the review comes from a public site like Yelp or Google Local, there are various ways you can take action publically and privately through your account. If it occurs on social media sites like Facebook, it’s up to your discretion whether to handle it publicly or take it offline. In most cases, it’s advisable to leave the interaction visible, at least for a few days, so others can see that you care to be transparent as a company. Also, if you think it’s detrimental for customers to see a negative review, think about how it would look to see that review, and then see that the company has simply deleted it upon your next visit.

There is an important exception to this last point, however: The Potty Mouth. The abusive or profane commenter has a right to their opinion, but you have a responsibility to keep your page viewer-friendly. If you think they have a legitimate concern, try taking the conversation offline, and hide their post from your timeline.

What does it mean to “hide” a topic, you ask? The recent addition of the hide function was a brilliant move on Facebook’s part. As opposed to deleting a thread completely, hiding allows you to keep a record of the conversation for yourself, without having it hang around on your timeline for eternity. Another benefit: the upset customer will not be able to see the post has been hidden (unless they are on someone else’s Facebook account) so your actions won’t further stoke their fire. To hide a comment, hover over the post in question, click the X in the top right corner, and select “Hide From Page.”

In short, when it comes to reviews, take the good with the bad…and make sure you address the bad to the best of your ability.

What kind of experiences have you had with negative feedback?

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