Negative Reviews on Rating Websites?Don't Fake It Like There is No Problem
Have customers posted negative reviews of your business on Yelp, Google Places or one of hundreds of Rating and Review Websites? These reviews could remain online for an untold number of years.
Your first reaction is probably anger.
How should you respond?
As a smart executive, you should consider the validity of the complaint and investigate the details. If you can identify the customer, you could contact them and see if you can end up satisfying them. If you can, ask the customer to follow up the original review with a write up about your efforts to correct the problem.
If you think your company did what they should, you could respond to the review by writing your version of events. Almost all rating Websites will allow you to tell your side of the story. If you've claimed the listing (as you should!) your response will appear as the business owner. This level of authority is important in responding to complaints. Emphasize the importance your business gives to customer service and satisfaction. Offer an easy means such as a phone number for unhappy customers to contact your business to give you their complaint before they tell the world on the Web.
What you should not do is fake it that there is no problem.
Don't blame the customer
The customer is always right whether you like that cliché or not. If you respond by trying to correct the unhappiness, potential customers will understand. People know sometimes things do not work right or go smoothly. That you tried to fix the problem is demonstrating that you do believe in customer support and stand behind your products.
Don't write fake positive reviews
Potential customers can see right through them. So can search engines. A real customer review describes a unique experience. Don't think you can adequately put yourself in your customer's shoes.
Definitely don't hire one of the numerous companies out there who claim to be professionals at writing positive reviews. They get caught because it is obvious they wrote fake positive reviews. I recently saw the work of one of these companies. It is totally transparent that they were paid reviews. If a competitor of the business that hired the fake reviewers reports the fake reviews to Google, Google will bury that company on search results. Google can do that and never tell you.
Respond to negative reviews with proactive solutions to make the customer happy, and your company wins in the long-term. Try any number of fake responses, and you will only make the problem worse.