No doubt about it, the advent of the Internet has changed the way the world does business. Conversely, it has also impacted how disgruntled clients and customers can air those grievances, regardless of their validity or truth. Photos and comments posted on the World Wide Web are out there for anyone and everyone to read, and certainly, that’s generally not an enviable position.
That being said, is there something you can do to combat negative reviews online? Successful Business News asked experts to share your thoughts, and their comments are below.
Josh Lenon, Lawyer in Residence, Clio According to Lenon, “For lawyers, the worst thing you can do it take legal action against a bad review. First, you open the review to being publicly litigated as true. Second, you’ve closed off friendly avenues to get the reviewer to amend their review. Third, you may make the review go ‘viral,’ making your bad publicity the only thing people can find about you.
"The best way to deal with bad review for lawyers is to bury them in good reviews. Focus on your work quality and provide opportunities for clients to give you positive public feedback. (Be sure to follow your jurisdiction's rules for soliciting reviews.)"
Josh King, Chief Legal Officer, Avvo Josh King offers tips for responding to negative online reviews that apply to every service provider, regardless of whether they are a business owner, entrepreneur or attorney.
King’s Action Steps for handling critical online comments include:
Respond briefly with a note apologizing for any oversights that may have occurred while encouraging a dialogue with the poster with an eye towards resolving their complaints
Refraining from responding with negative comments aimed at the customer
Trying to determine the identity of the poster, if their name or other identifying information has been concealed. That way, you can reach out to them outside the glare of the Internet in an attempt to appease their annoyance
Ensuring your company web site features prominently posted positive client testimonials or feedback, so potential customers can rea and consider offsetting views
Angela Bonfante, Principal, ABKitchenDesigns Angela Bonfante not only assists clients seeking to renovate their homes, she is also a public speaker and educator at a community college in Columbus, Ohio. Her various entrepreneurial endeavors have taught her about dealing with negative online reviews, which, she says, she has been extremely fortunate to avoid, to the best of her knowledge.
However, she says she is extremely cognizant about every interaction she has with clients and even prospective customers who reach out to her via referral web sites such as Houzz. “Do your best to maintain a positive attitude and not internalize negative comments made by others. That way, if you feel compelled to respond in some way, you won’t sound defensive or argumentative. If your response to a negative comment or review is defensive, it could only serve to backfire and actually, although unintentionally, reinforce whatever the commenter said about you in the first place,” she said.
“If you do choose to respond online, be certain to be kind, not defensive or angry. Remember, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” she says. Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer who tweets as @girlwithapen.