Best Practices for Review Based Websites

Receiving a negative review online can seem like the end of the world to small business owners, especially if your company is in the early stages of building an online presence. Although reading a bad comment can be a harrowing and even emotional experience, the steps you take when responding to the issue can make a big difference to the way your reputation is managed online. If you’ve received a less-than-stellar critique, here are some do’s and don’ts you should know.

DO respond to the review, when possible. Taking the high ground by not responding might seem like a good idea – but it will do nothing to detract from the negative publicity your business is receiving. Often times, reaching out to the reviewer with a simple apology or discount offer is enough to change their minds and get them to remove the offending comment – and seeing that you’ve taken public steps to rectify the situation can help to put other readers at ease even if the negative review stays.

DON’T reply with an angry, passive aggressive or accusatory rant. Even if you’re sure that your business or employees were in the right, nothing good can come from starting a fight online. Make sure that you are showing your business in the best light whenever you are representing it online to avoid losing future customers.

DO reach out to happy customers. If you’ve taken steps to fix the problems faced by your angry reviewer but the post has stayed up, there’s no harm in asking for a little help from customers that are happy with your services. Posting a link to the review site on your Facebook, Twitter or blog can help to direct satisfied clients to the page, where they will be able to counter the negative-reviewer’s gripe with true stories that show your business in a positive light.

DON’T try to get the posting removed by a third party. Once something is posted to the internet, you should assume that it is there to stay. Devious or black-hat techniques to remove posted opinions often backfire and create further problems, and you’ll likely gain more negative attention for trying to go behind the customer’s back.

by Michelle Robertson

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