If you have set up a Google Alert for your name or your business brand and found out that someone has posted negative comments about your brand, your products, your website or your service, how would you handle it?

To manage your online reputation and retain credibility in your online brand there really is only one way – you should respond to all comments:

  • helpfully
  • honestly
  • diplomatically

Whilst there are no guaranteed solutions we give below a few tips to help you on your way:

Don’t Rush in – Play the Waiting Game

Take a little time before you jump in and respond to any criticism as this will:

 a)  Give you time to consider your response.

b)   Enable you to see what reaction, if any, the negative comments provoke from others.

If you confront the situation reactively by just jumping in on someone’s comment you are likely to ‘blow off steam’ and make matters even worse. If no one is really commenting or paying attention to what has been said, or better still someone other than you or a member of your staff leaps to your defence, it is probably best to ignore it and let it die out on its own. Bloggers will quickly move on to another new story that grabs their attention.

Avoid Being Aggressive!

Any negative review of your products and services should not provoke a strong response. If you aggressively attack the person who made the negative post they are more likely to seek the support of others and will openly canvas people to post further negative comments about you.  Never try and bully the blogger into submission.

Show Concern and Try and be Helpful

If the comment has been made on a website or blog other than your own, remember you are a ‘guest’ on that site and as such you should show respect.  If you show respect you are more likely to receive respect for your opinions. Acknowledge the criticism being made and even if it is totally wrong never ‘rubbish’ the original poster.  Avoid sarcasm in your reply and try to always be genuine and helpful.

A negative review should always be viewed as constructive criticism. You should even thank the original poster for bringing this to your attention.  Offer to try and resolve the issue and to listen to the complaints. Ask the original poster to make contact with you directly if they want to.  If you handle the criticism well you can convert an ‘enemy’ into a friend and even an ambassador for your business.

Be Impartial and Fair

Try to avoid arguments and negative opinions. Always use factual and objective information where possible and use third-party (independent) statistics and other relevant data reinforce your point of view. Providing links to other sites which have the same opinion on the issue can also help your case.

Follow Up

If you make promises and commitments you must always follow through on whatever actions you have agreed and meet the agreed deadlines.  When possible make your promises specific i.e. “how much, of what, by when”  Do not make ‘sweeping promises’ keep them very specific and only promise to do what is within your own power to deliver.

If you need help with a brand reputation issue please leave a comment below or contact WSIIMS

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