“I remember this guy,” the dealer from Minnesota told me. I had just pointed out to him that he had a negative review on Google. “He was rude to my staff and made unreasonable demands. When we told him we couldn’t give him what he wanted he left this lousy review!” Many dealers can relate to this situation.
You pride yourself in providing exceptional service, and you’ve built a strong reputation in your community through years of hard work. Then some yahoo gets his knickers in a twist and trashes you online. I’ve done online marketing assessments for a lot of dealers and, unfortunately, this situation is not uncommon.
Fake reviews left by competitors or dishonest customers can also be a problem. It’s not fair. It can make you want to pull your hair out. But this is the world we live in. So rather than complain, let’s look at steps that you can take to handle negative reviews, protect your online reputation, and gain an advantage over competitors.
Fix The Problem In Your Business
When someone leaves a negative review, it’s easy to get angry and defensive. But what if the negative comment is legitimate? If so, this person has done you a gigantic favor. Here’s why: According to Lee Resource, for every customer complaint 26 other unhappy customers have remained silent. In this case, the reviewer has taken the time to point out a problem that is causing you to lose customers and money. The solution here is to swallow your pride, and fix the problem in your business.
Use Disney’s Proven Customer Service Recovery Strategy
The Walt Disney Company hosts 135 million people per year. They are masters at customer service recovery. Their employees are trained using the acronym HEARD. This technique can be used in person as well as with online reviews.
- Hear. Let the customer tell their story without any interruptions. Sometimes, we just want someone to listen to us.
- Empathize. Let the customer know that you care deeply about their concern. Use phrases like, “I’d be frustrated, too.”
- Apologize. Sometimes all someone wants is a sincere apology. The key word is sincere. Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, you can still apologize by saying things like, “I’m so sorry you’re frustrated. I get it.”
- Resolve. Resolve the issue right away. Ask the customer, “What can I do to make this right?”
- Diagnose. Without blaming anyone, find out why the mistake occurred. Does your system need fixing? Was it human error? Take steps to make sure the mistake won’t happen again. Pursue perfection, settle for excellence.
You should respond to negative reviews. Resist the urge to blame the reviewer or make excuses. Instead, be empathetic, apologize, and list the steps you have taken to correct the problem.
Drown Out Negative Reviews
There is no mechanism to remove authentic negative reviews left by real customers from Google and the other major review sites. Yes, if a review is fake or slanderous, there are steps you can take with the review companies to get them removed, but it’s a hassle. I don’t recommend it. Instead, drown out negative reviews with positive ones. That is the single most powerful strategy for building and maintaining an excellent online reputation.
Matt, a dealer I coach from Idaho, has over one-hundred 5-star reviews. If someone leaves a negative review—legitimate or fake—it won’t hurt him. His online reputation is bullet-proof. Matt is also able to command the highest prices in his area—his online reviews are a big reason why.
If you have any questions, or if you’d like me to evaluate your online reputation, email me.
To Tons Of Customers!
Jim Augustus Armstrong is The “Coach”
Jim Augustus Armstrong is the President of Flooring Success Systems, a program that equips dealers to double their profits, cut their work hours in half and beat the boxes! Many dealers have totally transformed their businesses and their lives for the better after joining Flooring Success Systems.
See what real, live dealers are saying!
Free book! For a complimentary copy of Jim’s book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes and Escape the Cheap-Price Rat-Race of Doom Forever,” visit BeatTheBoxesToday.com.