Online Reputation Management: How to Leverage Bad Reviews

Reviews are essential for businesses: they provide a first hand account of a customer or client’s experience with the company, and they tell the company what aspects of the business work and what needs to be improved. But did you know that reviews are also important for SEO?

When someone’s Google search query returns results for your business, reviews are sure to pop up. In high-stakes professions such as law, medicine, or real estate, it is very common to have a disgruntled customer attack your reputation online. You can be severely hurt by the negative review of a past client showing up in the search results.

Even if a reviewer is posting baseless complaints about your business, it’s never a good idea to hide their critiques. There are ways, however, to combat negative reviews.

For one, you should set up a system that helps you get more reviews in general. The simplest way to do this is to choose the most relevant websites that your business is reviewed on and create templates for your clients. When you finish business with a particular client, you should have an “exit package” that you give them that expresses your thanks for their business, as well as instructions on how to leave a review on the websites that you have chosen. If you’re running your business well, chances are that most of your reviews will be positive and they will outweigh any of the negative reviews that are showing up when people search for your business.

Secondly, when you have a negative review, you should reach out to the reviewer. If you have their contact information, send an email or give them a call to see if you can talk about what they felt was unsatisfactory about your business. You’ll be surprised how often customers will try to work with you and offer genuine suggestions on how to improve your business if you adopt a tone of sympathy and understanding. They will often retract a review or issue a new one that makes it very obvious that the situation has been resolved. If you do not have their contact information, respond directly on the website where the negative review was posted. This shows customers that you are actively policing your online properties and that you care about your reputation. Even if the complaining customer doesn’t respond, it shows that you’re proactive and understanding, which may actually help convert new customers.

Negative reviews are an inevitable part of business. No matter how well a transaction may have gone, there will always be a customer or client that leaves angry. These tactics will help sooth your angry customers, boost your company’s reputation, and help bring in new business.

If you’re concerned about your company’s reputation, contact us for a free online reputation management analysis and we’ll help you decide on the right strategy for your needs.

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