Online Reputation Management Case Study

Dealing with Negative Reviews of Your Brand

In a world where the Internet is always at your fingertips and the first impression that many new customers will have of your brand is your website, addressing negative reviews is an important part of maintaining your business.  The review, possibly from a disgruntled customer or a competitor that sees your business as a threat, may start out small but can quickly escalate out of control.  Ignoring it or lashing back isn’t going to solve the problem; in fact it could make it even worse.  When faced with this situation, the best recourse is to face the situation head on and do your best to resolve the problem to the satisfaction of both parties.

Most customers, when they write a negative review, are looking for two things; to be heard and to have the problem fixed.  A call from a company supervisor or executive can go a long way toward making them feel heard.  If the business is at fault, own up to it and do what is necessary to make it right.  Hopefully at this point they will be willing to take the negative review down but if they aren’t perhaps they will follow it up with a positive review of how the situation was handled.  If the same complaints are being voiced time and time again be willing to look into the situation and if necessary make some changes.

Thanks to Smartphones, tablets, and other data connected devices customers can search online and check reviews without ever stepping foot into your store or even visiting your website.  Social media especially is key to connecting with customers and developing relationships with new customers.  It’s also a great way to rally your fan base and help offset any negative reviews.  Showing appreciation to customers that have written positive reviews with discounts or incentives can help turn them into loyal customers and real advocates for your brand.

Unfortunately there are times when the situation can’t be resolved; the customer refuses resolution or the negative reviews are an intentional attack.  In these cases it may be best not to address the situation directly but indirectly.  Flood the search engine with content—videos, white pages, positive reviews.  Be mindful not to reference the attack, as that will increase its relevancy within the results.  Be transparent and don’t hesitate to publish your own collection of reviews and data that supports what makes your brand great.  Legal action in most cases should be a last resort as that has a tendency to back fire and cause even bigger problems down the road.

Every brand, every business receives negative reviews from time to time and the bigger your business becomes the more frequent those negative reviews are likely to come.   How you handle the negative reviews is what will really make the difference to your customers and to your brand reputation.

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