It’s a fact that no matter how hard you work for your customers, occasionally an impossible-to-please one will come along. It’s a fact that no matter how hard you try, you will sometimes make a mistake. It’s also a fact that in some markets, competitors might try to discredit a business by posting false customer reviews online. Some unhappy customers and negative comments are inevitable for every business!
So what can a business owner do? One approach is to treat a bad review as a crisis. You can try to identify the reviewer, and hire a legal team to sue the person to remove the review and pay you damages. You can also hire teams of bloggers and SEO experts to try to bury the bad reviews in the far reaches of search results. Is this approach likely to be expensive? Yes! Is it likely to achieve the results you hope for? No!
In the US, we have a Constitution that guarantees the right to free speech with certain limited exceptions. By suing, your legal team will be working hard, and billing hard too, to limit this Constitutional guarantee, which is a steep hill to climb and not likely to be successful. You are also likely to attract media attention for your efforts to muzzle critics. Certainly, if the review is defamatory, your chances of success might be greater, but most bad reviews are not defamatory. So the lawsuit solution to the crisis will be very expensive, unlikely to succeed, and likely to generate bad press.
What about employing an army of bloggers to generate positive content for your business keywords and push the negative comments to the nether regions? This is also an expensive tactic and if you’re a business listed in local search results, your army of bloggers and Twitterers will not be able to hide customer reviews in Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Bing, Yelp, and the other major review sites. The search engines give those sites prime real estate in search results, and you won’t be able to change their placement. If you’re not a local business, it might be more successful, but it’s still a very expensive tactic.
But wait, there’s hope — your business can get free reputation insurance to guard against negative reviews? You build that insurance policy by establishing a proactive program to collect online reviews and recommendations from your most loyal customers. This is not an event, it’s a process! You need to be working through every client engagement with the expectation that it will result in a loyal and happy customer. Near the end of that engagement, you should present your customer with your thanks, the invoice, and a request for a recommendation. When the customer does leave you a review or recommendation, make it a point to thank him or her.
With that insurance collection of recommendations and reviews, the occasional bad review will only make the others more credible. Prospects will purchase from you because they’ll research your online reputation and like what they see. New customers will begin their relationships with you with a feeling of confidence and trust.
If you need help building your reputation insurance collection of recommendations and reviews, please contact Rust Reviews.