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When Customers Call Your Baby Ugly: Handling Negative Online Reviews

You worked hard to build a company you are proud of. You take care of customers and clients with efficiency and attention to their needs. Yet, when you check your online reviews, your customers complain about unmet expectations, disappointing service or lackluster customer care. Those negative comments on online review sites feel like a gut kick — as if your customers have just called your baby ugly.

Here are three things you need to know about reviews in order to respond intelligently.

  1. Customers have expectations.

Even before customers cross your business’ threshold, they will have formed expectations about the experience they believe they will have. They have seen your website, flyer, coupon or reviews online; they have spoken to your other customers and perhaps even to employees; or maybe they’ve just driven by your business on their way to work. From those interactions they have formed a perception of who you are, what you value and what you offer. This is called branding and it sets the emotional expectation of an experience they will have with your business.

Back before the internet, customers who had a great experience with a business would tell a neighbor over the backyard fence. Friends shared restaurant suggestions, passed along the name of a favorite CPA and even recommended that others stay away from a particular plumber with whom they had had a bad experience. Today, in contrast, customers are handed a megaphone — in the form of review sites — where they can share that same referral, compliment or criticism, not with one friend at a time but with thousands of people they have never met but who take their feedback as gospel.

Online reviewers build trust with audiences when they share real testimony and post details about their experiences. Nielsen’s 2012 Global Trust in Advertising Report shares that, of the 28,000 Internet respondents surveyed, “Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging,” having more influence than traditional forms of advertising. The online review space has significant impact on business, whether we like it or not.

Originally posted 2015-10-06 04:22:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter