4 Steps to Successfully Respond to Negative Online Reviews

Any good business owner wants to learn from their customers in order to grow their business. That’s why they ask people for honest feedback… like when a manager at a restaurant asks you how your meal was. Or, when a technician asks you to fill out a review form at the end of a service or installation.

The potential trouble with online reviews is that the anonymity factor can lead people down a dark path. While honest feedback is appreciated, the Internet veil can sometimes bring on exaggerated, non-constructive remarks. But, once it’s written online, it becomes a reality you have to deal with. So… how do you successfully respond to negative reviews, no matter how exaggerated, hurtful or just-plain-wrong they are? Simple.

Follow these easy steps using a kind and conversational voice.

  1. Thank the reviewer for his or her feedback.
  2. Apologize for whatever negative experience they’ve described.
  3. State your continued intent to better serve your customers.
  4. Offer an opportunity to discuss their concerns further and privately in either a private message or a phone call, and offer something for their trouble. (Make sure to state a specific owner/manager name. It adds a level of ownership and trust to the response.)

A majority of reviewers will not call a business back, but if they do, this is your opportunity to apologize, listen to their thoughts and offer a solution. Even if they never call you, you’ve assured future customers that you care about their experience. This increases their trust in you and negates the negative review in most cases.

So, that’s what you should DO. Here’s what you DON’T do.

  1. Ignore the review and hope it’ll go away or get buried.
  2. Refute their claim or dismiss their concerns.
  3. Write with harsh, defensive or robotic language (intended tone).
  4. Change the blame by going into detail saying what THEY did wrong.

Any confrontational language can lead to an unwanted continued exchange with a frustrated patron. It reflects poorly on your character as an owner or manager and negatively impacts the reputation of your business.

5 Things to Know Before Jumping into Pay-Per-Click

1) Your Audience

Your audience is the most important factor when starting PPC (pay-per-click). They are the one actively searching and buying your product or service, so it’s best to know how to target them. Targeting users can include sites they would frequently visit, where they are located geographically and general demographics, to name just a few.

2) Your Goal for Adwords

What are you looking to accomplish by using Adwords? Are you trying to get more people to visit your site? Are you trying to build brand awareness? Knowing what you would like to use Adwords for will help answer a lot of setup questions. For example, if you are a newer company and are just hoping to get your name out there, display ads may be the way to go, but if you are established and want to increase how many people contact you via your website, search ads may be your avenue.

3) Your Target Cost Per Lead

Your cost per lead is a great number to know regardless, but in Adwords, this will help to make sure your money is being used effectively and efficiently. If you estimate that you will still make money if you pay $100 for a new sales lead, that amount is the highest you should aim for with paid ads. Once you go drastically over your cost per lead, you may find that your campaigns need adjusting, or that you should adjust your approach when using paid ads.

4) Level of Satisfaction with Your Website

Your ads will ultimately lead users to your website, where that needs to be the big selling factor for a user to call your business, submit a form or take an action. View your site as a consumer. Are you able to easily find information you’re looking for? Is it easy to contact your business should someone have questions? Is it mobile friendly? If you are able to answer no to any of those questions, there may need to be a bit of improvement on your site before launching a campaign.

5) PPC Isn’t a Band-Aid; it’s a Supporting Factor

At MPW, we suggest that PPC should complement your other marketing initiatives, especially your online marketing initiatives. Specifically, when you are working on the SEO for your website, PPC helps to establish more real estate on the search engine results page (SERP) than just a paid ad or organic listing, alone. Seeing your paid ad, and then coming across an organic listing, helps to make an association from the keyword the user is searching to your brand that you are an expert. Especially if the user then clicks on the organic listing, this is even better. You receive the benefit of getting the click organically, with the real estate of two listings, without having to pay for the click.