Ever since opinion based journalism has existed, negative reviews have haunted businesses in small to large markets who have had to deal with the eventual repercussions of a less than impressive customer experience being laid bare. With the invention of the Internet and particularly social media, this danger has increased significantly due to the amount of online readers who often check out review sites before engaging in business; regardless of whether it’s related to deciding on one’s next cable provider or dining out. The age of social media has made it possible for non-journalists to have a massive influence (which at times can be even greater than well regarded “critics”) on how public perception is swayed.
Hire A Reputation Management Company?
If you’re a public relations officer for a large corporation, then chances are you’ve dealt with a reputation management company in some form as a part of your duties. While going this route can offer some support and peace of mind in receiving qualified assistance, it’s by far the least effective way of dealing with negative online reviews for businesses that don’t have the luxury of a large budget; not to mention that many of the steps reputation management companies take can be performed by the individual or business at a significantly reduced cost.
One of the main issues with hiring someone else to deal with your online problems is precisely that; it promotes a hands-off approach while giving the reigns to a representative who is often more interested in charging an hourly rate than actually dealing with and solving the issue at hand.
Address The Problem
Assuming a negative review is receiving attention and making its way toward the first page of search engine results, one of the most straight forward methods of dealing with the review is to address the problem directly. For example, a company could directly reply to the reviewer and offer a solution to the problem or address events that transpired along with a new approach that will be taken in the future to avoid a recurrence of the situation. For minor issues, this can generally be an effective method for diffusing a negative review and getting public perception back on your side.
Search Engine Blues
Although not quite as common in 2013 as it has been in years past, a company’s reputation can sometimes be sidetracked by a single inflammatory article, review or rant that may be completely irrelevant and even false. What’s worse is that depending on where the review was published and related keywords, your company or service could find its way at the very top of search engines regardless of whether there is actual validity to the negative claim. There are few things on the Internet that are more intimidating with the potential of damaging your business than fabricated criticism.
In these cases, the first step toward getting back on your feet may be to solicit a recall or complete removal of the article/review in question. However, this approach will sometimes prove fruitless due to a website’s internal policy, so the next logical move is to begin getting your name or company reputation back in good graces by ensuring there is alternative, more informative content available for readers. This does not mean that a false review should be published, but rather that keywords that were used to get the negative criticism to rank so highly should be targeted in order to move previously published content or new write-ups toward the top of online search queries.
It is definitely tough to deal with all negative feedback and each circumstance should be evaluated on a case by case basis. However, with the proper tools and a good amount of prudence, negative online feedback can be successfully addressed and even result in a long term positive boost for your business if handled correctly.
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