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Handling Negative Online Reviews

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People searching online to merely find directions, will see often notice how many reviews a business has, notes Jonas Sickler. Sickler serves as marketing director for ReputationManagement.com., an online group of reputation management experts that helps restore a business' online image.

Google heavily favors reviews for local business searches, so reviews have a definite impact on businesses like body shops. 

In fact, four negative search results can cost a shop 70 percent of its potential business, he says. While the statistic holds true across all industries, it is more pronounced in the collision repair industry because of the importance of reliable transportation and high cost of repairs. Negative search headlines also get more clicks than positive ones.

Below, Sickler shares what shops can do to combat the effects of negative reviews.

As told to Melissa Steinken

  1. Keep in mind that not all negative reviews are bad. Some imperfect reviews actually help to build trust as long as they aren't too negative. No business is perfect, so if a repair shop has hundreds of 5-star reviews and nothing else, customers may assume they're all fabricated. One bad review can help the shop fix an issue it wasn't aware of before it snowballs.
  2. Think of a bad review as an opportunity to showcase customer service. Respond professionally and tell the customer you'd like to make things right. Then take the conversation offline. 
  3. To determine the best course of action, listen to your customer. While one person may be satisfied if you make things right, another may demand compensation. If you treat them as a person instead of a number, they might be more likely to calm down.
  4. If the bad review is not ranking on page one, you may not want to reply right away. Sometimes clicking on a negative review and responding can push it higher up and onto page one. Instead, reach out to the customer directly. 
  5. Set up Google Alerts to track reviews. Setting up alerts is free to set up and easy to use so you don't have to constantly monitor all of your review platforms. If a competitor wages a fake review attack on your business, you'll want to be on top of it right away. This is also a great way to thank customers for positive reviews.

 

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