How should businesses handle negative online reviews?

how to use social media and digital marketing for insurance brokers
Social Media and Digital Marketing for Insurance (IBAA Webinar Recap)
October 24, 2017
social media and digital marketing for insurance professionals alberta
Social Media and Digital Marketing Group for Insurance Professionals [Facebook]
October 26, 2017
Show all

How should businesses handle negative online reviews?

how to handle online reviews about your business alberta

“We’re an insurance broker and we just had our first bad review on Facebook and Google – should we delete them?”

You should not delete any reviews, unless they’re fake. Read on to learn how businesses can deal with online reviews.

So you’ve signed up for Google and Yelp and set up a Facebook business page. Then comes the moment of truth, a negative review rears its ugly head.

First of all, congratulations for having the guts to put your business online. Seriously. Putting your business online is scary (especially if you’re in an industry that’s often disliked!) Almost daily we hear stories about companies caught in the middle of a viral social media storm. The scenario is usually due to real (and perceived) bad customer service. This is only exacerbated by the bandwagon effect after some bad PR; random people pile on with onslaught of negative online reviews. [Port Moody for example.]

When your business shows up online, you open yourself up to being completely vulnerable. When you get a negative review, the temptation to delete it can be strong, whether it’s Google, Facebook, Yelp, Glass Door or TripAdvisor. You may also have the immediate and natural reaction to defend at all costs.

Here’s how businesses should reframe their approach to negative reviews and comments:

{Clarification: we’re referring to legitimate reviews, not people trolling your social sites.}

1) You may be ignoring feedback that could be critical to your business.
Example: “their coffee always taste burned, it’s like they leave it on too long. I wish they would keep A fresh pot on – I like to support local.”

While This feedback may seem negative to a small business owner, the review is actually golden feedback that could provide an opportunity to make positive changes within your organization. Think about it, if you respond to that poster telling them that you’ve found a solution to keep fresh coffee at the ready, imagine the impact that could have on others reading the review? Your responsiveness is excellent marketing!

2) It can backfire and instead of going away it becomes top-of-mind (and perhaps a top news story.)

Some people get incredibly creative when they feel that they’re not only being ignored, but disrespected. Deleting or hiding a review/comments from someone who is angry isn’t necessarily going to stop them. Recently I wrote an article over on LinkedIn about Sears. Sears had had a lot of haters over the years. Some have created blogs, websites, Facebook pages, tweets, and secured traditional media spots hammering the company with a slew of bad publicity.

3) You miss the opportunity to show everyone that you’re human too.
Before getting defensive about a review or comment, put yourself in their shoes. Show them that you understand their disappointment or concern.

4) You miss the chance to show others that you’re proactive.
We like to do businesses with those we know, like and trust. This will always be so. When you listen to your customers and proactively approach concerns you can actually help with buying decisions. (e.g.: reviews can show potential clients what you’re like to deal with as a business.)

How to be proactive with online reviews and feedback: 

  • use monitoring tools (mention, google alerts)
  • do a social media audit – check your brand assets online at regular intervals
  • respond as quickly as you can, but as factually as you can.
  • take the conversation offline as best as you can (remember the Port Moody guy didn’t have a chance to do that!)

And as Jay Baer pointed out in his book “Hug Your Haters”, a review or complaint that goes unanswered can mean you decrease customer advocacy by 50%. Whereby when you respond, you may increase it by as much as 25%!

Still not sure how to approach negative reviews? Check out this guide

Related Blogs:

Should my business delete a bad online review? 

Why Review Sites Are Important To Insurance Brokers

How to effectively respond to online reviews

Human Resources: How To Address Negative Social Media Posts 

Do you need help getting started with Social Media and Digital Marketing? Get in touch! 🙂

Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay is a Marketing Strategist, Writer + Speaker known for her no-nonsense approach to pretty much everything. Using data and insights, she helps organizations market more effectively to get results that matter. She's also a high-scoring instructor at Mount Royal University, where she teaches Social Media Analytics and Google Analytics + Marketing Measurement. She holds certifications from Google, as well as Facebook and is currently working toward a specialization in Marketing Analytics and a certificate in Data Science from IBM. When she’s not busy juggling kids, volunteering + work, she’s busy planning her retirement to Cape Breton.