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How to Respond to Good and Bad Reviews on the Internet

How to Respond to Good and Bad Reviews on the Internet

There’s little argument the World Wide Web is an amazing communication tool that can whittle our vast universe into an intimate conversation. When the topic of discussion is your company, it’s a good idea to keep track of what’s being said and by whom. There are steps entrepreneurs can take to access comments and reviews of their products and services, and then respond accordingly.

According to Steve Smith, president of GrowthSource Coaching in Orange County, California, there are generally two ways a small business owner can combat negative comments or reviews of their business posted on the Internet. One, says Smith, is the “effective way,” while the second seems to be a more popular approach.

The effective method
The more effective method requires more effort on the part of the entrepreneur. “Business owners should be able to tap into places on the Internet where reviews are posted,” says Smith. Web sites such as Yelp and Google + are popular destinations, depending on the product or service a company propagates.

“It’s essential for a business owner to be plugged in” to know where to find comments and reviews, both positive and negative, says Smith, a consultant with more than 31 years of business-related experience.

If your company received a bad review, Smith suggests a business owner post an apology below the negative comments while also asking how the situation can be repaired. “Offer to make it right,” he says.

If someone posted positive comments about your organization, that effort should be rewarded equally. “It’s nice to reply and thank them for their comments,” he says. If your company has earned several reviews complimenting some aspect of the customer’s interaction with your organization but your company doesn’t post any acknowledgements, a poor impression can be created. “That gives people the impression that no one is home,” he says

The popular route
While the effective way can tap into more of the business owner’s time, the more popular method to responding to both positive and negative comments on the Internet is by hiring someone to do it for you. “Some people hire a social media company that scours the Internet for bad reviews. They place good reviews to push” the bad ones down, says Smith. He doesn’t like this policy because, in his mind, “it’s not genuine.”

However, if a company earns a few hundred comments weekly, both good and bad, it might be a good idea to turn the process over to a professional. “If a large portion of your business is based on a customer’s experience while being there, there is no greater way to damage your reputation by not responding to negative comments,” says Smith.

He suggests carving out a few hours a week to surf web sites where people regularly post reviews. A great way to narrow down which sites would be most useful is to use a search focusing on your industry and city. For example, an entrepreneur seeking reviews about their eatery might Google “restaurant reviews AND the city they’re in,” says Smith.

Using people’s reviews
When a person posts something on a public web site, such as Google + or Yelp, for example, Smith says “it’s assumed for public use.” That means it’s acceptable for someone to repost it elsewhere. However, if the review was posted on a private web site, such as your restaurant’s own site, Smith thinks it’s not a good practice to reuse it without the poster’s consent. One way to do that is to include a box for posters for check if they agree to their comments being reposted elsewhere.

“Nine times out of ten, when people are motivated to leave a review, it’s because it was a bad experience. It’s a smart idea to ask people if they had a good experience to go to a specific site, like your own, to leave a positive review. You have to ask for positive reviews for future referrals,” says Smith.

Details Written by Tami Kamin Meyer and reprinted from Successful Business News

Steve Smith is a business coach who specializes in helping small businesses come up with a plan to succeed. To visit his site, click here.