When given the opportunity, most business owners will try to do the right thing. However, it can be frustrating to find negative comments about your company on the Internet, especially when online reviewers are venting their complaints without seeking resolution.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB)|Greater Maryland has some helpful tips for businesses looking to manage their online reputation.
• Take the conversation offline. Acknowledge the post publicly, but whenever possible, ask unhappy reviewers to contact you directly — or reach out to them if you know who they are. By responding promptly, you will show the customer and others that you take complaints seriously.
• Make your contact information readily available and always respond to complaints. Customers often resort to online negativity after failing to gain satisfaction or receiving delayed response from customer service. The Internet has increased our expectations for speedy service. To prevent complaints from going online in the first place, respond quickly, be sure to always treat customers with respect, and try your best to resolve their problems.
• Resist the urge to personally post reviews. Satisfied customers will often send letters of appreciation and praise. While it can be tempting to combat negativity by posting these reviews online, this practice, also known as review syndication, should be used with care. If you do choose to share a comment online, make sure you follow the site’s guidelines (if applicable), and be transparent by making your identity and relation to your company clear.
• Be proactive and update your BBB Business Review. You don’t have to be an accredited business to take advantage of BBB Business Reviews. Visit bbb.org/reviews, and enter your business name and zip code to view your company’s review. To register as the owner of a business, go to “Quick Links,” and choose “Claim this Review.” Business owners can list crucial information such as products and services, hours of operation and refund policies. BBB Accredited Businesses can also upload photos and videos at no additional cost.
• Keep it all in perspective. Even the best organizations won’t be able to please everyone. As long as you run your business ethically and try your best to keep your customers happy, the occasionally negative review shouldn’t be a big deal.
Angie Barnett is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland. She can be reached at 410-347-3990 and firstname.lastname@example.org.