There are just some things you need help with.
For some business owners—or maybe most—responding to reviews fall into this category— especially if your personality is the type that lends itself to reacting first and cooling down later. Imagine if somebody tells you that your baby is ugly. Most likely you’ll have an immediate and visceral reaction. Lashing out. Seeing red. Bent out of shape. Up in arms. Can’t see straight. On the war path. The list could go on and on but you get the idea.
When you encounter a stressful situation that triggers strong feelings, like when a person publicly trash-talks your business, the part of your brain that thinks and responds rationally (the prefrontal cortex) gets turned off, and the more primitive part of the brain (the amygdala) takes over. This acute stress response is a physiological reaction that occurs when you are faced with a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. The only options available to you in that brief moment of anger are fight, flight or freeze. So...when your amygdala anticipates a threat, it can drive you to react irrationally and destructively, and when it comes to feeling threatened online, guess what the most common reaction is? You got it, FIGHT.
In your shock and outrage, it’s easy to imagine how you might respond to customers in ways that could potentially make your business look bad. Not only is responding off the cuff unprofessional, it’s irresponsible since it can be very off-putting to other potential customers who are watching you interact with your current client base. And in this brave new world we’re living in, one false move could cost your company its reputation. You don’t want to be in the news for “Bosses Behaving Badly.”
Basically, what you need is someone to save you from yourself so that your company’s reputation is safe from harm. In these cases, it may become clear that your best option is to hire a third party to help manage and respond to your online reviews. Your business is your baby so it’s completely understandable that you would take criticism personally; especially when you’re dealing with customers who are attacking you, your employees and your business.
Retaining a dispassionate third party (like WebPunch!) ensures that you have someone impartial and objective to intervene in these messy situations and respond to your reviews on your behalf. The scathing review posted by an irate client won’t insult the mediator. The unbiased company that you hire works behind the scenes and functions as a soothing facilitator to showcase your business in the most favorable way possible. It’s basically like having your own public relations advisor.
Remember what happened with United Airlines? They lost about $1 billion in their market cap right after this whole fiasco transpired. We won’t get into the whole situation but it serves as a powerful reminder that it only takes one bad move for your company to be negatively affected. The power of story is strong and people generally like to side with the underdog.
USA Today says:
Business owners are trying to find their footing in the age of social media, where one misstep—an airline that loses a passenger's luggage, a restaurant that mixes up an order, a doctor whose patients face lengthy waits—can reach millions and spell doom.It is forcing merchants to tweak the old adage that the customer is always right. Instead, experts say, business owners need to jump on negative feedback and apologize for mistakes. But they also shouldn't be shy about giving their side of the story.
You can have all the likes you want, but at the end of the day, if a few people write bad things about you, they are going to have a disproportionate impact. Increasing positive vibes is great, but you get a bigger bang for your buck if you reduce the negative ones.
Now that you’re beginning to see the importance of having a neutral and unbiased company to oversee your online reputation, we want to talk about another great perk of having this kind of service at your disposal. You will have immediate and continuous access to a team of people whose sole responsibility is to protect the good name of your company. There will be real live humans responding to your reviews with unique and personalized responses. This level of personal connection is vital when maintaining the respectability of your business.
We’ve all seen the companies who get called out for canned, repetitive and robotic responses to their reviews. If they even respond at all, many businesses merely reply with:
Thank you for your review.
Which is nice and everything—but when your customers take time out of their day to give you kudos online, it’s good etiquette to acknowledge them and thank them for doing business with your company.
Simultaneously, when you respond to your reviews, it shows Google that there is chatter and traffic on your page, which alerts them to the fact that your Google business page is active. This is something Google takes into consideration when people do a web search because they want to direct users to an active business page. Once users are directed to your page, one of the first things they will do is check the reviews. When potential clients see how engaged you are with your current customers, it may persuade them to choose your company over another.
Adding personal touches to review responses is part of a customized approach that goes a long way in solidifying and strengthening your customer's relationship with your brand. We understand that it can be difficult to say thank you in a million different ways to your happy customers, but there are ways that you can be intentional about connecting with them. When you recall personal things about your clients such as their pet’s name, what their favorite store item is, when they celebrate their anniversary, etc., you bring things back to a personal, customized interaction that actually goes a long way in showing your customers just how much you value them.
To sum it all up, if you reach a point that you are literally seeing red, back away from your computer and take a break. You might also need a snack. Consider reaching out to a company who can help you manage your online reputation and respond to your reviews. If you wind up being the one responding to online reviews yourself, be personable, detailed and genuine; and never form a response when you're a Either way, you'll come out ahead.
Karin Siccardi is a Reputation Defender, Blogger, and Proofreader/Editor at WebPunch. Originally from Oregon, she migrated to Tennessee where she lives with her husband, four children, and the family dog who lounges at her feet as she enjoys the luxury of working from her home office. An avid reader, she enjoys all wordy things as well as coffee, chocolate, and wine.