As a business owner, you want to make sure your customers are happy with the products and services you provide. If you are involved in the day-to-day operation of your local business, you might get to personally know your customers.
If you run an on-line business or a service-based business in which your employees make house-calls, getting to know your customers on a personal level might be slightly more difficult. Nonetheless, most business owners want to make sure their customers are consistently satisfied.
Happy customers are likely to turn into repeat customers!
Assuming you make a concerted effort to make sure your customers are always satisfied, it can be incredibly frustrating to discover a negative online review of your business. This is especially the case when you are certain that you always do your best to make sure customers have a positive experience every time they make a purchase, schedule an appointment, or call for advice or guidance.
What's even more exasperating than a negative online review is an anonymous negative online review.
When you have no idea who left the unfavorable review, handling the situation properly is made even more complicated.
Don't Let an Anonymous Negative Review of Your Business Ruin Your Day… or Year!
If you discover an anonymous negative online review, don't panic. It can happen. Actually, it can happen to any reputable business in any industry. In today's digital age, this is a simple fact.
But it's important to remember that a negative review – even an anonymous one – can be handled. The key is handling it correctly.
When a negative review is discovered…
- Stop in your tracks.
- Do not respond immediately. Take your time.
- Evaluate the review
- Try to determine what prompted the customer to have an experience so poor that he or she spent time writing and posting a negative review.
- Put yourself in the customer's shoes for a moment.
- What exactly happened?
- Did your business actually do something wrong? (Yes, it's possible!)
- After careful thought and consideration, craft an appropriate response and then post it.
Here are some tips on how to handle an anonymous negative online review of your business:
Do your best to encourage happy customers to post positive reviews of your business online.
If a large majority of your online reviews are positive, one negative review might not leave an overwhelming poor impression on prospective customers.
It's always a good idea to encourage satisfied customers to write positive reviews on your behalf.
With plenty of great reviews, an anonymous negative review will not stand out as significantly.
Anticipate that a negative online review might happen and prepare yourself mentally ahead of time.
No matter what, you will likely experience a disgruntled customer at some point in time. The only thing that is not certain is whether this customer will take the time to share his or her opinion on the internet. If you accept the possibility that this can (and probably will) happen at least once, you will not be as shocked to discover it.
Anonymous negative online reviews are not uncommon. No business is exempt from this.
Remain calm and wait until your anger subsides before posting a response.
It can be especially infuriating to know that you always try your best to satisfy customers, and yet a few are never pleased no matter what you do for them.
When an anonymous negative review is uncovered, you might instantly become frustrated. Your instinct might tell you to respond immediately in a negative fashion. But your response must be formulated strategically.
Your goal may not be to change the mind of your unhappy customer, but instead to show other prospective customers that you are willing to correct your mistakes – either real or imagined.
Try to make things right – even though you might not know who left the negative comment.
No matter how hard you wrack your brain, you might never be able to figure out who wrote an anonymous negative review of your company.
Instead of focusing your energy on trying to figure out who wrote the review, you should spend time coming up with a smart response to the review. Make sure your response includes an offer to make things right.
Evaluate the situation, and try to correct any internal issues that may have caused the anonymous customer to become unhappy.
Once you have a chance to think about the details mentioned in the negative review, take the time to evaluate whether the anonymous person is correct.
Is it possible that the customer was treated unfairly or incorrectly? Did the customer purchase a product or service that was broken, wrong, or sub-par? If so, it's your job to correct the issue(s).
Once you implement changes, make sure to post a response that lets the anonymous poster and the public know that you took action to resolve the problem.
Consider hiring a reputation management company for your business
An experienced, knowledgeable reputation management company has the tools, resources and time to not only deal with this one review, but your overall business reputation online. They can help you prepare for the worst by being proactive.
Not only that, the right agency can help you increase your visibility and get better search engine rankings.
Anonymous Negative Reviews are Influential
An anonymous negative online review can have a big impact on the public. Don't ignore anonymous reviews just because you don't know who is responsible for them
While it's true that one of your competitors might have maliciously posted negative comments about your company, you cannot know with certainty that the review was not posted by an actual customer. Therefore, you must always try to handle the review in the most appropriate manner possible.
If an anonymous review is well-written and makes sense, there's a good chance that prospective customers who see the review will take it seriously. In other words, an anonymous review can have just as much clout as a review with a name attached to it.
Your online reputation can become tarnished by a negative review – no matter who posted it.
Stay in charge of your online reputation by responding to anonymous reviews in a professional manner. Your number one priority should be to show the public that you are dedicated to ensuring the satisfaction of your customers.