These days, more people than ever are turning to online reviews on sites including Yelp to review businesses. Like all technology, businesses are finding it to be a bit of a double edged sword. It's great when people say nice things about your business. It's terrible when they say awful things about it.
There are legal options when someone says defamatory things about your business in online reviews. However, suing or threatening to sue is often a mistake. Instead, the best course of action is often to engage the scorned customer and have a dialogue with them. Often they just want you to recognize their pain and compromise with them. It may be possible to turn their experience around and transform them into a satisfied customer that will praise your company in the future. Forget about that if you sue them.
The New York Times recently featured the work of Henry Posner, social media coordinator for B&H photography and a former professional photographer. Posner has done such a good job dealing with online reviews, The Times interviewed him for advice for business owners looking to build a positive online reputation.
Henry Posner offered seven detailed points and the article is worth checking out in order to see them all. Here are a few of my favorites:
If a customer complains, confirm, confess and correct
According to Posner, don't respond until you have all the facts. After researching the matter, if the customer is right, apologize and ask what can be done.
Go the extra mile for a trying customer, but not the extra hundred miles
It's important to try to help dissatisfied customers. But that's not to say that your assistance should be unlimited. Some will never be satisfied and your time will be wasted if you focus all of your energy on them.
Customers only think they know what they want
It might sound arrogant but it's actually true. A big part of your job is to help guide customers to what they actually need. They might think they want the most expensive unit available. You might know that an entry level model is a better choice. Guide them to the right model and you could have a long term customer instead of a single sale.
Speak softly and carry a big rep
Don't spend a lot of time bragging about yourself and don't trash your competitors. The information is out there for customers to find, so let them research your business and the competition. If you have been doing the right things, the customer is going to find positive information so you don't have anything to worry about.
- The Yelp CEO Response to the Yelp Lawsuit (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Yelp Reviews to Get Responses from Businesses; Defamation and Online Reviews (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- The Yelp Lawsuit: Yelp May Need Help (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)