Whether its on Yelp, Amazon, or anywhere else that potential clients see your business, a negative review can have scary consequences. Its also a dirty trick that competitors can use to slag your company; all they need is to set up a personal account on a site that looks like it’s from a regular customer and bingo, your reputation is toast.
Luckily we have a guide for dealing with Yelp disasters, and you can apply many of those lessons to other sites as well. My favorite technique for managing an online reputation is to cultivate testimonials. If a customer tells you they’re happy with your work or product, ask if they’re willing to pen a testimonial on a review site. Send people links to where they can add a positive review so they dont have to dig.
You can even include requests for reviews in email blasts and other communications that you regularly send out. After all, unhappy clients generally dont stay on newsletter lists. Follow-up emails after a product purchase are always a good idea; from there, you can include a link to a review site.
1. Unhappy Customer Websites
You can deal with this well–as Sears did by offering a sincere apology and a refund for the freezer delivered on the truck that killed a family pet. If, however, you litigate every time a customer publishes a complaint website, you’re an example of how to compound the problem. There are many channels online for someone to complain, and a lawsuit will just make an angry customer go over the edge.
2. Unfair Competitive Comparisons
In the United States, it’s illegal for a competitor to jump up and down on your product, break it, and call it poorly manufactured. True story: I worked at a company this happened to. One of our competitors posted a video of our product being jumped up and down upon until it split in half.
We thought this may push the boundaries of being legal, and according to expensive lawyers, we were right. Turns out a competitive comparison can be very problematic in the legal world, and you have a good case against a company defaming your product, especially if they’re using trademarked terms. If you have the same sort of situation going down, have your lawyer draft a letter to your competitor and their ISP citing the infringement.