Stars Unfortunately, 39 of them were just one or two stars out of a possible five. These negative reviews detailed specific problems with the merchandise itself, the delivery, or with failed promises by sales associates. At a time when so many shoppers go online to get information before making major purchases, can any retailer afford this kind of bad publicity?
Word-of-mouth is the most powerful and effective mass email sender available to businesses as long as it’s positive. The Internet and email marketing gives word-of-mouth an infinite audience, and negative online comments can be devastating to a business. With dozens of web sites offering a forum for comments, the potential for dire consequences is very real.
What are you doing to take charge of your reputation online?
If you are getting negative online comments, start looking at what customers are complaining about. Talk to them. Investigate the complaint. Then fix the problem so it doesn’t happen again. Yes, there are a number of online companies that will help solve reputation issues, but they can’t work miracles if you never solve the problems causing the complaints. Each new complaint validates the previous one to prospective customers.
Another way to help reduce online rants is to make it easy for customers to talk with you or someone in your business who can solve problems. One retailer I know has a customer help line with someone dedicated to answering that line, listening to customer complaints, and fixing the problems.
Some retailers selling higher cost merchandise such as home furnishings, appliances, jewelry, musical instruments, floor coverings, sporting goods, and better apparel have their sales associates call customers a day or two after they make a purchase. This phone call is to make sure everything was satisfactory with the merchandise and/or delivery and head off potential negative postings.
When you find negative reviews online don’t get defensive. It is far more productive to become part of the conversation. Be humble and address the problem in a straightforward manner. Your goal is to turn unhappy customers into happy or at the very least satisfied customers rather than fuel their frustration or anger. After all, a great reputation is one of your business’s most valuable assets.