It seems as though the Internet has given everyone permission to say just about anything. This includes negative opinions about you and your business.
Research shows that only one out of 26 unsatisfied customers will make a complaint to the business owner. An unhappy customer will tell approximately 15 people about their bad experience in face-to-face interactions.
But what about when they tell their three hundred plus Facebook friends? Or write a scathing review on Google My Business?
You have some options to redress these situations, and in the process perhaps implement some best practices so everyone goes away happy.
1. Do not react immediately.
No good will come from it. In fact, it will only make everyone reading the post believe every word of it.
2. Gather information.
For example, was this person even a customer? In this time of Internet outrage, people sometimes hop on a bandwagon or single businesses out for their own reasons – not because of something you’ve actually done.
3. Acknowledge the complaint and – most importantly – take it off-line.
"We are sorry you were dissatisfied with X." "We want to learn more about how we didn’t meet your expectations." "Please give our office a call so we can make things right." Statements like this. It is important for people to see that you showed up and were polite back.
4. What if you have no idea who they are?
In this case, use a statement like "We don’t have enough information here to identify when you visited our store … bought our goods … received our services. Customer satisfaction is important to us. Please call us so we can help you." This alerts people reading the review that it may be false.
5. What if you know they are lying?
Google, Facebook and other platforms have ways to report reviewers who are fraudulent. In addition to following step #3 or #4 (you always respond politely and briefly to negative reviews), you should flag the review for the platform and explain why you believe it is fraudulent.
6. What if they’ve defamed you?
Again, #3 is the first step, calling us is the next. We can help you analyze if legal action is needed or warranted. We may also be able to help you in reporting a violation of terms of service for one of the platforms and have the content removed.
Remember to never post anything that you don’t want everyone to read forever.
We are here to help you in stressful situations like this. Call us and let us help you navigate this stress.
To happy clients,
Francine E. Love,
LOVE LAW FIRM
Francine E. Love is the Founder & Managing Attorney at LOVE LAW FIRM PLLC which dedicates its practice to serving entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses. The opinions expressed are those of the author. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.