Responding to Negative Online Feedback

Posted: August 28, 2011

Google Places RatingMany major websites now provide areas for users to comment on products and services being sold. Added to this, Google allows users to comment on companies through their Places page and import comments from other popular sites, all of which end up showing up in their search results. As a consumer, this can be very helpful in making a purchase or choosing a certain company who provides a service. As a company, this can be great, until you receive a negative comment.

Here are some tips for dealing with negative online feedback:

  1. If there is a mechanism to respond to the comment, do so and respond honestly. If you refunded the customer, explain this in the response. If the customer is just venting, respond honestly and in a positive tone to the events that happened. Web users are more and more accustom to seeing feedback and they realize that not everyone can be satisfied. If you are honest and you maintain a positive tone to your response, people who view this feedback will recognize that.
  2. Ask some of your best and frequent customers to leave positive feedback about your company. It won’t look so bad if you have 50 positive comments compared to a single negative one.
  3. If the negative comment is abusive, threatening, or contains profanity, report the comment to the website administrators. Chances are they will remove it. If the comment is just “unfair”, don’t assume it will be removed from the website. It doesn’t hurt to ask but, again, take a positive tone in your email to the website operator and explain the situation honestly.

The Best Offense is a Good Defense

Encouraging customer comments on industry specific sites and in common web directories, such as Google Places, should be part of your online marketing strategy. Staying on the offence by doing a bit of work on this each month and getting positive feedback can save you a lot of hassle in the long run when you do get a negative feedback.

In addition, Google displays its comments in their search results and there is no doubt that positive and negative feedback on your company factors into search engine optimization. With this in mind, include online comments and feedback as part of your online strategy before somebody leaves you a negative response and you find yourself behind the 8-ball.

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