One of the hardest questions to answer when anyone asks about online reputation management is how to deal with negative reviews. There are as many solutions as there are reviewers, and while it may be best to ignore some, responding to others with humour, a genuine desire to be better and a bit of imagination can go a lot further.
That’s why it caught my eye when the legendary @Chiropractic (come on, how many Chiropractors do you think there are in the world who know more about internet marketing than most internet marketers) aka Mike Dorausch tweeted about a negative review he had received, and the frankly genius way that he dealt with it.
This is the tweet I saw;
And being the nosey kind of person I am I immediately went to the site and read the review
I was immediately struck by how clean Mikes profile had been up to that point, and wondered, if I had seen it as a consumer, if I would have suspected it of being too clean. It’s a lot more common for people to review negative experiences than positive, so this review profile may indeed have raised some flags with me.
Instead of just talking to myself about it though, I thought I should get a better look at this partiular situation straight from the horses mouth. So I emailed Mike and did a short interview on his experience of being negatively reviewed.
How do you think customers perceive a totally glowing review profile, and do you think having some less than glowing reviews can have a positive impact on customer perception (making the reviews seem more real?)
I think a totally glowing review profile can be of concern, and I’ve had some say it’s makes them question if all reviews are legitimate. As far as less than glowing reviews, I believe it depends on the type of negative review, in my experience it provides something to talk about and does help things appear real.
Can you explain how you handled the review, and what followed (both with the reviewer and putting the review on your wall)
We had a 2 star review on Yelp, which included some odd observations about our business, which made me curious. I took a screenshot of the review and printed it, taping it to the front desk where every client could read it (they all did). Observing how clients reacted was quite educational. Nobody publicly agreed with the reviewer but I asked each person if it would potentially affect them choosing a business had they not ever been to it. One of our new clients said they had read the review before calling, saying they thought it seemed out of context from what else was written about us online.
What do you think is more important as a small business, handling a review in terms of it’s impact on business, or working to turn it into a positive experience for you as an individual?
Both. I think very few people have any clue how much stress small business owners go through, so if it can be made positive it’s worth something. If the review is accurate, it’s an opportunity to improve on whatever can be done to see it doesn’t happen again. If it’s not accurate, there’s an opportunity to get feedback from clients confirming that. A few even went online to share their experiences, people that have been with us 1, 2 or 3 years, not merely for a single visit.
And finally, how exactly do you manage to stay so happy that people complain about it?
I love being a chiropractor and I believe that being passionate about what one does comes through to people. The reality is that there’s always someone who’s going to be turned off by another’s happiness, and they’ll often make an effort to bring you down. If we stop moving forward they win.
From talking to Mike about this particular situation, and thinking over how I have seen complaints most successfully dealt with in the past, I think I can boil the answer to the question ‘how should I deal with a negative review’ down to one far more simple answer than I ever could before;