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One of the most powerful, free marketing tools is real user reviews. No matter what business, people will rely on reviews by other customers.

A lot of people are afraid of these reviews. “What is someone posts a negative review?” is the single phrase holding business owners back from posting reviews. My answer: “So what if they do? What are you going to do about it?”

Here are some tips on how to deal with reviews.

1: Reply to all of them

Positive or negative, reply to all of them. A simple “thank you” for the positive reviews will work wonders.

The negative ones will need a little bit of time, but whatever you do, do not ignore them. Use Google Alerts to get notified if your business is being mentioned anywhere online, so you can react swiftly.

2: Never shift blame

This is basically customer service 101. Don’t act like it’s not your fault. More importantly, never blame the reviewer (at least not in public). You will always look like the bad guy. Blaming is one of the most destructive traits in any relationship. Take responsibility.

3: Come up with a solution, publically

Vistaprint is a pretty transparent company. When I asked a customer service rep where they were calling from, she had no problem telling me she was in Jamaica. If something goes wrong, they’ll accept full responsibility and fix the problem. They also have public product reviews available and respond to most of them, especially the negative ones. The way this review was handled wouldn’t make me not want to buy a shirt from them.

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Please don’t reply with “I’ve sent you an email” or “Please call us for a solution”. That’s not helpful. Even if you can’t come up with a solid solution, at least show you’re making an effort in your reply. You can always go into more detail in your followup email.

4: Offer a little extra

Let’s say you’re a potato chip company and one of the bags of chips you sold had only half the volume of the promised 450 grams.┬áIf you receive a review from a customer saying they got stiffed, you could reply “Please send us your address in an email with a copy of your receipt, and we’ll send you a new bag”, but instead of sending a bag, you send a whole box of chips. How much you want to bet that picture (with your company logo on the box and a happy face of the customer) is going on Facebook? This kind of advertising only cost you 1 box of chips.

5: Avoid negative reviews

Of course, making sure people have no reason to leave a negative review in the first place is the best way of dealing with negative reviews. Staying in touch with your customers, be pro-active by asking how their experience was before they can write a review will relieve a lot of tension. Be there for them before they get frustrated. Customer service 101.
If you’re afraid you’re going to get too many negative reviews, there’s something else wrong in your company, which should be addressed first.

6: Take control

Instead of hoping people will write positive reviews somewhere like Facebook, Yelp or Google, you can take control of your own reviews. For Funky Moose Records, we’ve recently teamed up with TrustSpot, an independent review collecting company. The advantage of TrustSpot is that you can show reviews on your own website and reply to reviews publicly. They will also add the star rating to your Google search results.

Conclusion

To conclude, don’t be afraid of reviews, even if they’re negative. See them as an opportunity to turn things around and improve your business.

If you need help adding TrustSpot to your site, contact us!