How should we counter bad online reviews?

Hmm… if you are getting some bad online reviews, a good place to start is to understand why you are getting such bad reviews and fix the problems that result in these. Now that is a fairly obvious thing to do but the fact is that sometimes the issues don’t get resolved in a timely fashion. Part of that may be due to a defensive attitude that might inadvertently creep in when someone posts negative reviews online i.e. a thinking that “there is nothing wrong with us” and “it is the reviewer who has an axe to grind”.

The fact is that online reviews are not only extremely powerful in building (or destroying) the online reputation of an organisation but have shown to be quite influential in the buying decisions of those who read these reviews. Therefore, we recommend that if you take your online reputation management seriously, then take the following steps:

a) Acknowledge the reviews you get, good or bad, with humility and non-defensively
b) If a review is negative, promptly tell the reviewer that the issues raised are being looked into and that you will get back with an appropriate answer once the investigation into the matter is complete.
c) When you complete the investigation and a problem is identified, take steps to resolve the problem(s). Inform the reviewer of the specific actions taken. If there is anything that you can do to compensate the reviewer or make up for a bad experience, offer to do so.
Responding promptly to the negative reviews, acknowledging problems and communicating with the concerned parties sends out a very positive message to others reading the review that you care for your customers’ opinions, listen to their feedback and work to improve. Most customers tend to appreciate this willingness to improve and will be happy to give you the benefit of doubt.

Of course, there may be instances when the feedback you receive is indeed unfair or uncalled for. Instead of ignoring such comments, it is best to counter these with facts that must be stated non-defensively. Customers are often intelligent enough to see through the distinction between fact and fiction.