We make no comment as to the rights and wrongs of the complaint or the business's handling of it, but there are lessons to be learned:
- Negative reviews hurt. A single negative review can really damage your business
- Review management would almost certainly have prevented this situation arising
Negative reviews hurt
This is one of the main reasons businesses give for being hesitant about engaging with reviews: they are afraid that they will open the door to damaging negative reviews (and it is certainly the reason this business has resorted to the courts). The fact is that that door is already wide open. A dissatisfied customer can post on Google or Yelp or any of a hundred other specialist sites (not to mention forums and blogs) that will be returned in a Google search.
But denial (ignoring this and hoping that your customers are the exception) is no longer an option: there are over 15 million registered Google users in the UK alone - all one click away from reviewing your business).
By 'denying denial' and adopting professional review management you achieve three things:
- You get great reviews from your customers - on your own website and on Google - so if you do get the odd negative then, at the very least, it will be seen in the context of the majority of your satisfied customers' opinions
- You give your occasional dissatisfied customer an excellent (and attractive) way to have their complaint resolved without them having to resort to a damaging public post
- If they don't choose to use the system you have offered them, you have the best possible defence when replying to the review: that you had already offered them a great mechanism to resolve their complaint
There are two sides to review management (explained in detail here): showing positive customer comments on your own site and on Google and enabling you to manage negative comments in private.
Let's examine HelpHound's system (Resolution™) in detail from the dissatisfied customer's point of view.
- They get an email from the business asking for feedback
- They reply saying they are unhappy
- HelpHound forwards their comment to the business and lets the customer know they have done so
- They get a response from the business (either direct or via HelpHound)
- They are happy (and either post a revised review or - in the overwhelming majority of cases, no review at all) or they remain unhappy (they post a negative review)
To answer this question it is probably best to point you to case histories. Here are two (one for a hotel another for an estate agent):
The estate agent:
These are typical and entirely representative numbers, if in doubt just look for a HelpHound client you know and see theirs, they are shown on their websites like this...
...and anyone can simply click on the 'worst' tab to see how many negatives are published.
With professional review management your business will look as good as it is - remember that every one of those 172 people who posted a negative (3, 2 or 1 star) review through Dialogue was invited to post - only four did.
The ultimate bottom line is that our clients all look great - on their websites and on Google. We don't take all the credit for that, they were well-managed businesses before they met us, but now they can prove it to their prospective customers, and all without losing sleep at night.