Negative Online Reviews? Fight back!

My husband and I recently took a trip to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Scottsdale which was incredible. A seven day break, seeing one of the seven wonders of the world, hiking in one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and then relaxing in a posh hotel in Scottsdale.

With all of the hiking involved in the trip, we wanted to be sure we had great hotels in which to relax and rest up in each evening. So I turned to Trip Advisor reviews to find comfortable, clean, affordable, and quality hotels in each location. If a hotel had a low overall rating, I skipped it. If the rating was above average, I’d check out the first page of reviews.

I noticed that there are several Complainy Complainersons out there, especially online, who will take their negative attitude and subject it on the world wide web from the soapbox that review sites provide. (People complained about the high desk in the lobby of one hotel, since it wasn’t friendly enough for them to look over a desk that was chest height. I don’t know about you, but that certainly wouldn’t make or break my stay. We ended up staying there, and yes, the desk was high. Offensive? No. But high.)

But I also could tell the legitimate complaints that might may be problems I’d worry about. Mostly, if I read a lot of rational complaints, I’d move on. But some hotels had a secret weapon—a response each time a reviewer complained. It always included a simple apology followed by the hotel’s explanation for the situation—the issue was resolved with a credit at checkout, security was dispatched and the fighting couple was sent away, someone came and chopped the high desk in half to bring it to a more reasonable level, etc.

And this followup worked for me. I was able to read both sides of the story and assess if I thought the hotel was reasonable, and if I was dealing with a Complainy Complainerson.

It’s even possible the followup was able to bring the miffed reviewers back to the hotel—according to The Retail Consumer Report, which surveyed people who shopped online during the 2010 holiday season. Of those who posted a complaint, 68% received a response from the retailer. Of those people:

  • 18% turned into loyal customers and bought more
  • 33% posted a positive review
  • 34% deleted their original negative review

The rest, we’ll guess, were Complainy Complainersons. They probably went on to examine desk heights at other shops.

What’s more, 61% of consumers interviewed said they would be shocked if a retailer responded to their negative reviews. So what do you say, why not go check out your company’s negative reviews and jolt some people a bit?

We recently helped a client, American Guardian Warranty Services Inc., bring their online reputation to par with their BBB rating. They have an  A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but a lot of Complainy Complainersons were at work against them online. AGW didn’t have much online content and did not have the time to address the negative reviews they received on consumer forums. That’s where we came in.

We found negative reviews posted on forums. We then addressed complaints with AGW’s side of the story, and provided additional information about AGW to future viewers on the forum. We provided trackable links to direct readers to pages with more specific information such as the BBB report. Check out one such example below.

If you’d like us to help you take charge of your online reputation, contact us.