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Turning the Tables: 5 Ways to Transform Your Negative Review into Brand-Promoting Viral Buzz

Making lemonade out of lemons is a key indicator of successful and agile business organizations. This mentality is best exemplified by businesses that successfully ride a public relations (PR) disaster-in-the-making and turn the ship around by delivering a buzz-heavy, highly positive fix to the problem at hand.

It is true that any publicity is good publicity. But only if you, the business owner, are in control of the messaging. The principles we are about to share are not exclusive to business reputation management and online reviews, but given the current trends of engagement, this is the setting where most businesses are likely to take a hit.

Let’s learn together 5 practical ways to grab the bull by the horns and create positive brand buzz by delivering superior customer responses by word and by actions.

Turn the Tables by Acting Quickly

If your business has been the recipient of a highly negative or scandalous review, don’t sit around with your arms crossed, waiting for it to disappear. Even if the majority of your reviews are outstanding, if the review in question has any glimmer of truth and your team, in fact, dropped the ball, do what it takes to pick it up.

Businesses with effective reputation management practices embrace a culture of rapid response, doing everything in their power to provide fair customer-centric resolution aligned with the severity and complexity of the review.

Showing that you care and you are willing to make it right goes a long way when it comes to protecting your business reputation and reducing the chances of further escalation via social shares or news media.

Turn the Tables by Taking Ownership of the Issue

Making excuses is not a good business plan. Regardless of the fairness or truthfulness of a review, it is still the story according to a customer, and you should acknowledge his or her version with compassion and empathy.

Do not be defensive or despondent in your tone. Identify the true nature of the concern voiced by the customer, and communicate in your response your intention of making it right, for the benefit of the reviewer and all future customers. Convey a passion for excellence in business in what you say and what you do going forward.

(Case Study: Hyundai Dealer Wants Customers to Talk Online, Even Embraces Negative Reviews)

Turn the Tables by Conveying a Willingness to Make Things Right at Any Cost

Sometimes service recovery will demand a higher investment than the lifetime value of the customer voicing a negative opinion via a review. This is just the reality of doing business in the present era.

As you invest in remedial actions, take into account that you are making it better for the person who escalated their concern and for the benefit of your brand image. You are speaking to all future potential customers, and the cost is just part of a long-term, reputation-building online marketing strategy. You can be confident that, if done right, you will recover the costs in the form of new business leads, brand buzz, and increased customer loyalty.

Turn the Tables by Opening Your Doors for Unique Customer-Focused Experiences

If the right opportunity arises, by all means take advantage of it. Some reviews lend themselves to extravagant or fun business-generating opportunities.

If you are short on ideas and your budget allows it, consider consulting with a crisis management PR firm, or come up with a plan that will bring people in the door and allow you to show the true character and customer commitment of your organization. Turn a bad moment into a fundraising opportunity, or a fantastic happy hour themed after your business faux pas.

Turn the Tables by Tooting Your Own Social Media Horn

If, in fact, your business deserves a bad review but negative is not the norm, go big when it comes to remedy. Do something extraordinary for the offended party. Make noise about it by first acknowledging your mistake in brand-controlled public forums such as your Facebook page, and then offering a grand option to make things right. Go big or go home. Have fun making things right, and in doing so you will provide reassurances to future customers of your brand’s dedication to constant improvement.

(Check out: “Food Truck Receives One-Star Yelp Review – Then Responds with This Awesome Sorry Song”)

Crystal Shuller

Crystal is the Director of Customer Happiness for ReviewTrackers. She's known around the office for E-mails that make everyone smile, and she has a bag of tricks and tips to help businesses solve their problems and delight their customers.

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