Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Good Reviews Counter Negative Reviews

Instead of reacting to negative reviews, I want to suggest business owners take a proactive approach. If you get a negative review - and eventually everyone will, having lots of good reviews can mitigate the affect of the occasional bad review.

Plan Ahead

To quote a wise man "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

Every business will get a bad review once in a while. But if you plan in advance it is easier to deal with.

I want to suggest that having several good reviews will be the best counter to the occasional bad review. Instead of rallying the troops to react to a bad review if you have good reviews already on your business listing this will offset the negative of a bad review. ( localSEO.org posted an article in April 2010 with tips for encouraging reviews.)

I would suggest the following places to ask for reviews to be posted:
  • Google places - Google is so large and they display businesses listed on Google Places in local search results and include the # of reviews with their listings.
  • Yelp - Because of its popularity (it has a traffic rank of 41 in alexa.com US traffic)
  • Either CitySearch or InsiderPages because other sites reuse reviews from those sites.
  • Facebook - If you have a fan page,  encourage reviews there.

There is another benefit to having reviews of your business, it can improve your search engine ranking over those without reviews.

Aside from having good reviews, have an action plan on how to handle bad reviews. I encourage you to read the articles about responding to bad reviews.

There are several good articles that describe how to respond to bad reviews. (Mike Blumenthal's March 2010 post, Hubspot's Jan 2011 post or Eric Enge's Feb 2011 post).

They all boil down to a few common suggestions.

  • Ignore emotional reviews.
  • Don't respond immediately, take your time.
  • If you can fix the problem, own the issue.
    • Respond positively to the complaint.
    • Look at it as an opportunity.
  • Rally your clients to encourage good reviews.

PS - I'm sure I don't need to say it, but don't plant / fake good reviews.

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