I have to say I was so proud of my clients at Inish Beg Self Catering Cottages, when I saw how they handled the one ‘average’ review (beside 14 excellent reviews) they received on Trip Advisor. They addressed each issue noted in a very straightforward manner.
Many businesses don’t use social media marketing because they are afraid of getting bad feedback in such a public manner. I always advise that bad feedback is a concern, but that, if handled properly, it can be turned to be a positive. The rise of social networking, now a communications tool in the hands of everyone online and not just journalists, has supercharged the power of reviews and comments.
– Your prospective customers will expect that you’ll get at least a small percentage of negative comments/reviews and when you handle them openly and effectively, they will see how well you deal with issues.
– Visitors looking at all the feedback will balance the less than perfect review against all of the other great reviews you’ve gotten – especially if the person commenting has been specific. So make sure you to encourage happy customers to post their comments as well.
– If you get any offensive or illogical comments then those are best to remove, if possible, or just leave your brief comment — but it’s best not to engage in a ‘back and forth’ online with someone who may just be looking for attention rather than to provide helpful feedback. You have to carefully consider whether responding or removing/ignoring a comment will feed the flames and bring more attention to an issue. I look at other reviews/comments the person has posted, when available, to get some insight into whether the person likes to just post bad reviews or if this is a genuine complaint to be helpful to others.
– When appropriate, also reply offline with an email and/or phone call. Decide carefully if the issue deserves compensation such as a refund, a gift, etc. This will depend on the issue, if you were at fault, if the person is a repeat customer, etc.
– Often happy customers, that normally don’t post reviews/comments, will get motivated to write a positive review/comment after reading a bad one, especially if it seems biased or unfair.
– It’s also good to get feedback in order to continually provide the best possible products and services. Social media marketing is an excellent way to get this information. Use Facebook, Twitter, etc. to solicite and respond to feeback from past and current customers. It’s much better to hear from a past customer what the issues were and to address them, rather than for them to tell all of their friends ‘behind your back’ without any recourse to address the issue.
– Whether you are active in social media channels, it’s important that you monitor mentions of your business on them so that you can react to mentions, good and bad, in a timely manner.
Possibly it’s easy for Inish Beg to respond to occasional negative comments, because it can be balanced by a large number of very positive comments online and in the press. Mainly it’s because the owners and staff at Inish Beg are confident that they have done as much as possible to provide the best experience for their guests. Keep up the good work Inish Beg, online and off!