Real Reputation Management – Part 4
TRANSCRIPT: In Step 7 we’re going to monitor, at least monthly, for new comments. What does that mean? It means I want to know when people write new comments or post new reviews about me online. The easiest way for you to monitor is to set up something called ”Google Alerts”. Google Alerts are pretty good, but they’re not great. They’re not comprehensive; they don’t really dig deep into every review site. And, so, while I’m going to set up these Google Alerts and they will send a daily email digest of everything that was written about me online yesterday, I still want to have a regular review (maybe a monthly review; maybe every other week) from that clerk who’s sending out the emails on my behalf. Maybe, I’ll assign to him or her the duty of going to the top 10 or so review sites for our market just looking to see if there’s anything new that’s been written about us.
We are going to need that because in Step 8 we are going to address ALL the comments. This is the final step. This is how you get this perfect online reputation.
We’re going to address all the comments; anything that’s been written about us, positive or negative. Now, many review sites will allow you to post a rebuttal or a comment to reviews that have been written about you but others will not and for those who will not allow it, you need to post a new review under it. You cannot let negative comments stand on their own. If you leave them out there assuming no one will see them, consumers who read these negative comments will never know your side of the story and they’ll believe the comments to be true.
So, you want to rebut every negative comment and you really want to comment on every post. If someone writes a nice comment or a positive review about you, you want to say “Thank you; we try hard; please let us know where we can help you again; call us directly”, something like that.
Once you read a negative review online, it’s time to spring into action, but, slow down. Take a deep breath. See, everything you post online is going to be there forever, just like the original review so, slow down, gather all the facts, and, if you can talk to the customer, do that. That’s important. If you can get the customer’s side of the story and start to see it from both sides (yours and the customer’s), maybe, just maybe you can resolve this amicably.
Think about this: what if I start to gather facts, I talk to the customer, I start to find out we really screwed up, and I fix it. And, the customer is now happy. If you can do this, you are perfectly within your rights to ask that customer to remove or amend that negative review. If you can’t get them to remove or amend it; if you can’t resolve this amicably, you need to rebut the original review and you need to do it in writing.
Be sure to write it in Microsoft Word and, then, let it sit. Why do I want you to write it in Microsoft Word? I want to make sure your grammar and spelling is correct. But, let it sit. Understand, there is plenty of time to post a rebuttal. I don’t want to let it sit for weeks but I certainly want to let it sit overnight. Tomorrow, when I read this, I want to read it from a consumers stand point; someone who’s read the negative review and then read my rebuttal. See, I don’t want to come off sounding angry in this. I just want my rebuttal to explain the situation. I am never, ever, ever going to accuse a customer even when the customer is at fault. To most people reading your review, the customer does not look like the insane person. You do when you’re pointing your finger at the customer.
So, I’m never going to accuse, in fact, if it’s warranted, I’m going to take the blame in my rebuttal: “Yep, we screwed up, that’s what we did”. Here’s a tip – I know a lot of car dealers and other businesses who will take the blame, even when it’s unwarranted, because it makes them sound humble. So, I’m going to take the blame. I’m going to say, “I’m sorry, thank you for bringing this to my attention; I didn’t know this was occurring at my business and we’ve rectified it so that it never happens again”. Really just three things; thank you, I’m sorry and we’ve rectified it. That’s how we are going to respond to every negative review. “Thank you, Mr. Customer, for bringing this horrible situation to my attention.” “I’m sorry that this happened to you.” “We’ve rectified it so that it never happens again. Here are the steps we took.”
Please remember, though, to be factual in your response and keep personalities out of it. If applicable, offer to rectify it in your response. Let’s say we couldn’t get ahold of the customer; we don’t know which customer it was, and we really don’t know how to rectify it because maybe it’s something where they felt like they got mistreated at your business or they got a lousy product and your company wouldn’t take it back. You need to offer to rectify it (“Please call me directly so that I can issue you a refund, ASAP”), and put your phone number in the review. Now, remember, we’ve got to address all of the comments but, before we post this literary masterpiece; this great rebuttal that we’ve written, let someone else read it. Someone with a conscience, someone who’s not us, perhaps someone who can tell us when we’re being idiots. If we’re the leader of the business, there’s usually someone, a secretary, a clerk, a wife or a husband who can say,”Hey, you’re being an idiot.” Do not post something like this. Let someone else proofread it. Let them edit it if they need to. Remember, whatever you write online will be online forever, just like the original review.
So, to recap, can you really go from bad to great? Can you really take this horrible online reputation and make it a great reputation? You can, depending on the number of totally satisfied customers that you are able to identify and ask to review you. Now, for most small and medium sized businesses, this means you can expect to add between 5 and 30 positive online reviews every month. That’s a lot of reviews. Some of you may only have half a dozen reviews today, so, within a couple of weeks you can double your reviews online and all of those new reviews should be 5 star, stellar reviews. This is, because, remember, we’re not just trying to cover this up, we’re not just trying to perfume a pig. We’re fixing this. Step 3, we are going to fix all of our problems. So, it doesn’t take stellar math skills to know that it will only take a couple of months to turn your online reputation around dramatically if you’ll follow these eight simple steps.