Tag Archives: Customer Service


The most effective ways to respond to negative reviews

Customer reviews are one of the most important pieces of your marketing campaign, and research has indicated they may have significant impact on your ranking in search.

In fact, 84% of consumers trust an online review as much as they would a personal referral. However, not all reviews are positive. At some point throughout the history of your business, you’re going to run into negative reviews.

Fortunately, this doesn’t always have to be a bad thing – negative reviews can work in your favor as a business opportunity if you know how to react. Read below to learn the most effective ways to respond to negative online reviews.

Stay positive

Anyone who’s ever worked customer service knows how difficult it can be when a customer is attacking you. A negative review may get you upset, and as a human being your first instinct is to go on the defense, but that doesn’t mean you should become a keyboard warrior and attack the reviewer (unless you’re Wendy’s, of course, who recently spouted off Twitter battles with McDonald’s and customers alike). Unless you’re a multimillion-dollar fast food company, we don’t advise getting snarky.

Approach all negative reviews with a calm, positive attitude. Let the customer know you’ve heard their concerns, but never point fingers. Even if you’re not in the wrong, you shouldn’t make the customer feel like the victim.

It also doesn’t do you any good to simply ignore the review. The general public would prefer you respond than simply ignore the situation. Responding with a positive comeback will show that your business cares about its customers.

Offer a solution

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Sorry won’t cut it”? This is the case when you’re responding to negative comments or reviews. Simply offering an apology to your customer won’t do – a customer will want a solution to their problem. When you’re responding to a negative review or comment, let the customer know how you’ll fix the problem.

Below is an example of a great response that offers a solution. A JetBlue customer tweeted that their in-flight TV was not working. JetBlue immediately responded with this:

This response shows that JetBlue is empathetic towards their customer’s concerns. Then they follow up with an immediate solution.

It’s safe to say this customer appreciated the time this company took to solve their problem in a timely manner. They instantly redeemed themselves and showed their customer’s happiness is their priority.

Reiterate your company’s policies

You may fear that a negative review will make your company look bad. This is only the case should you ignore the review entirely. When you respond to a negative comment, flip the negative to a positive. Use this as an opportunity to reiterate your company’s good qualities.

For example, you can respond by saying, “We’re sorry you had a poor experience. We’ve been doing business for several years and most of our customers leave happy. We’re sorry we didn’t meet your expectations this time around.”

Take the conversation offline

When you receive a negative review online, you should always respond immediately on the same platform. This not only satisfies the original poster, it’s also a public place that all your potential customers will see.

However, some things can’t be addressed online. Issues involving a customer’s personal information, for example, should be discussed in person or over the phone. When addressing these types of negative reviews, provide a direct contact for your customers.

Taking the conversation offline shows that your business will go the extra mile to resolve any customer complaints or issues. However, you should only use this method for severe cases.

Does your company have a customer service line? This can also be a great way to incorporate an offline conversation. In your response, give the customer the line to your customer service department to resolve any issues that can’t be taken care of online.

Approach the customer as a real person

We’ve all experienced the nightmare that is automatic bots. Calling into a customer service line and hearing a robot on the other end is one of the most frustrating situation a customer can go through. Consider this when you’re responding to your customers. Leave out all the industry jargon, and speak to them like they’re a real person – because they are!

When you use plain language and speak to the customer as a human being, you’ll sound more genuine. Chances are, your customers will see you as a human as well, and not just as a business.

Google has also taken measures to ensure that you, the business owner, isn’t dealing with automated customer reviews. This solution is called verified customer reviews, and I’ve previously written about ways that you can use the feature to come out on top.

Ask for an update

If you’ve responded to the customer’s review and solved the problem, don’t hesitate to ask for an updated review. Often times customers will take this upon themselves and either delete or update their negative review. Here’s an example of an updated review after an issue was solved:

The most effective ways to respond to negative reviews

As you can see, many review sites, like Yelp, will show that this is an updated review. Once you’ve solved the customer’s issue, politely ask them if they’ll update the review online.

Having trouble thinking of a nice way to ask? Once you’ve followed up with the customer, ask them something such as, “We appreciate your feedback, and would like other customers to know how we’ve solved your issue. Would you mind updating your review to reflect this?”

Always make sure you thank them for their feedback, regardless if they update the review or not.

The takeaway

As soon as you see a negative review, your heart instantly sinks. But no matter how stellar your business is, you’re not going to make everyone happy. A few negative reviews won’t be the end of your business. Use these reviews as an opportunity to showcase your company’s outstanding customer service.

The sooner you rectify any issues your customers have, the sooner you’ll build better rapport with your customer base.

What tactics would you add to this list? Let us know the comment section below.


Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for HigherVisibility, a full service SEO agency, and a contributor to SEW. You can connect with Amanda at AmandaDiSilvestro.com.


Six steps to a stronger online brand

When it comes to maintaining a brand, any good marketer will tell you that reputation management is key.

But it’s not just about monitoring what others say about your business; it’s also making sure you know how to prevent reputation crisis by building a stronger brand.

For better or worst, opinions about your brand are out there. Not only the positive ones that show you what you are doing right, but the negative ones that both give you an opportunity to improve, and to contact the unsatisfied customer and make things right. That builds brand loyalty, showing your potential customers that you are the brand they can trust.

1. Set up brand monitoring

One of the easiest tools for this task is Google Alerts. Setting it up is easy and free, and the tool sends you the alerts the moment they come up on the search engine, allowing you to quickly handle any problems that might have happened.

Here is how to set it up:

  1. Sign into your Google account and go to the Google Alerts page.
  2. Enter your search query, which is the keyword you wish to be monitored. Keep in mind that you can create several of these alerts for different keywords. You can also use advanced and boolean operators to include several queries into one alert.
  3. State what kind of results you want, like blogs, news, discussions, etc. Or you can monitor everything, getting all results with your keywords.
  4. Select how often you want to get alerts, which can be once a week, once a day or as-it-happens.

Obviously, there are numerous uses for this tool including the ability to monitor the competition, industry news or updates relevant to your brand.

Here are some specific search queries you can try using:

  • [My Name] – to track the mentions of your name.
  • [My Company Name] – to monitor the company name mentions (reviews, forum posts, etc)
  • [mycompanyname.com] – to monitor the domain name mentions; some of the backlinks can also be discovered that way…

Google Alerts is just one (admittedly best-known) tool to monitor your brand online. There are more, better tools:

  • Brand Mentions is a newer tool sending you daily email digests with your brand mentions
  • Buzzsumo is a great tool allowing you to set up multiple alerts to monitor your online mentions
  • Hooks is a mobile app allowing you to set up alerts to monitor your brand mentions on the go. BestAndroidApps offers a good tutorial on how to set up mobile alerts using the app.

2. Research your brand-sensitive keywords

Knowing what your past or future customers are typing in Google when trying to research your brand or find answers to their questions is the best way to understand what your users are struggling with and how to help them.

Six steps to a stronger online brand

I have already written a detailed guide on how to research brand-related keywords here. In short, using Serpstat find all the different keyword variations containing your brand name and then monitor the rankings.

Six steps to a stronger online brand

It’s a good idea to play with those keywords a bit to:

  • Sort them into tabs (by action to take, for example, “Build a new page” or “Include this section in the FAQ section” are two possible actions to take),
  • Color code (by sentiment: You want to rank #1 for both positive and negative phrases)
  • Tag (by the team to assign to handle each of them, for example, assign some phrases to your usability or reputation management teams to handle).

3. Monitor your competitors

Keeping an eye on your competitors is the best way to avoid their mistakes and thus keep your brand image safe. I use two simple tools to monitor competitors:

SE Ranking offers great competitor monitoring and reporting tools that I think are the easiest on the market. See how your competitors are doing at a glance and notice any important trends, i.e. sudden drop in rankings or quick increase in PPC budget. Make sure to dig deeper once you notice any unusual movement.

Six steps to a stronger online brand

Twitter sentiment search: Using Tweetdeck (or Hootsuite) I always keep an eye on [my-competitor :(] results: Make sure there’s a space before :(

This search will bring up all your competitors’ unhappy customers giving you a good insight into what not to do to irritate your audience:

Six steps to a stronger online brand

4. Handle negative mentions with grace

The worst thing you can do is to register a new account at a forum and try to pretend you are the happy user of your service… That’s too obvious!

Instead, try not to lose your face and represent yourself: The owner of the company. Be helpful, authentic and respectful. You can’t please everyone but you can surely help them solve their problems.

Don’t try to get rid of negative sentiment by blocking unhappy customers or deleting their comments. This will backfire!

A good way to handle negativity is healthy humor, if you know you have a good sense of one:

Six steps to a stronger online brand

5. Make sure your visual brand is consistent

Having a recognizable visual identity is the most effective way to build a stronger brand. People remember your site, logo and message if they keep seeing consistent visual elements over and over again, across different parts of the website, social media channels, email messages, even on other sites (via your advertising creatives).

Whether you are planning a Facebook ad campaign or a regular email blast, keep an eye on how well your brand visual elements are kept across your assets.

Here are a few free branding mockups for to use or at least get inspired:

Six steps to a stronger online brand

Smartketer claims that display advertising is the best way to establish brand identity and there are some recent examples that confirm the point. So if you have some problems with your online reputation, a smart display advertising campaign may be in order.

6. Make sure your website is secure

One of the most frustrating and irritating reasons for a reputation management crisis is a constantly broken website. And it happens more often than you may think! Make sure that your site is fast, secure and reliably hosted to avoid all kinds of reputation management crises we witness again and again.

Iflexion is a great example handling the website security seriously. Take a look at their security and IP protection page to get inspired. It details all the best practices they are executing to keep their customers safe. If you haven’t yet, it may be a good time to create a similar page to ensure your customers you are exercising due diligence in preventing online attacks and your products or services can be trusted.

Six steps to a stronger online brand

Have I missed anything? Share your own tips to building a stronger, more powerful brand.


5 Tips for Amazing Customer Service by @megcabrera

In this day and age where most consumers could have everything with just one click, and there is an insatiable thirst for knowledge, needs, and wants, how can companies keep up with this demanding customer persona the new millennium has created?

The post 5 Tips for Amazing Customer Service by @megcabrera appeared first on Search Engine Journal.


Watch Your Language! 7 Ways to Create Customer Service-Oriented Content by @stoneyd

Distinguish your company online with great customer service utilizing these seven content tips.

The post Watch Your Language! 7 Ways to Create Customer Service-Oriented Content by @stoneyd appeared first on Search Engine Journal.


How to get started with online reputation management

Online reputation is important for every business and social media has only escalated the need. But how can you filter the noise to maintain a positive reputation?

As social media usage increases and people feel more comfortable expressing their opinions through all the platforms, online reputation management becomes even more crucial for every business trying to promote its services.

It is estimated that consumers are 92% more likely to trust their peers over a brand when considering a new purchase, which means that online reputation may bring a customer closer to your business.

Online reputation management is the process a business follows to analyse and monitor all its relevant mentions and reviews that take place on the web. It is helpful to keep track of the sentiment around your business, as this may offer useful insights on how to improve your digital strategy.

For example, it may be useful to establish a positive online presence, as 86% of people hesitate to purchase a product from a business with negative reviews. Would you risk losing potential customers over your online reputation?

Image: TalkWalker

Here are five basic steps to consider when starting with online reputation management.

1. Assess your current reputation

Start by analysing the existing online reputation for your business. What are the first results in search engines? What are people saying in social media and blogs?

This is the stage to collect all the information that will offer you a better understanding of how others view your business.

It’s not just about performing a search, it may also extend to the analysis of previous campaigns, hashtags, existing content, social handles, and anything that exists on the web and is relevant to your business.

Are all the details correct? Do the employees support your online reputation? Are there are any changes that need to be highlighted to your online presence?

How to get started with online reputation management

Image: TalkWalker

2. Identify changes needed

It’s useful to create a positive reputation before you come across a negative issue. If the business already has an online presence, it may be a good idea to filter out the noise and examine the first changes you need to make.

For example, how about “hiding” all the mentions that are not relevant or useful enough to be linked to your business? Is there a recurring mention that you’d like to remove?

Moreover, you can even set personalised filters to help you highlight the most relevant results for your business.

Social listening tools may take you to the next step of this process, by offering you valuable insights on your brand’s reputation and how this can be improved.

3. Determine what works best

Once the monitoring and the research is complete, it’s time to decide on the best sources to include in your online reputation strategy. Which platforms work better for an improved online reputation for your business?

Do you need to create more content? Should you switch the existing focus of your marketing efforts to enhance your online reputation? This is another step that you listen and learn until you’re able to understand the most effective ways that could impact the management of your online reputation.

 You may start with an initial decision on the platforms to focus on and if you still feel that you’re not targeting the right audience, you can always experiment with different areas of interest.

Social media, online press, blogs, and forums indicate the endless opportunities you may test until you find the perfect way to craft the strategy for your online reputation.

How to get started with online reputation management

Image: TalkWalker

4. Create a reputation strategy

Your online reputation strategy should include the content, the platforms, the opportunities for expanded reach, but also all the ways you can involve the community in the enhancement of your online presence.

Fresh content can help you update your SERPs, which may push down any negative content, or simply allow you to promote the latest content you’re creating about your business. This is always useful when trying to prove that your business has a consistent and valuable online presence.

Moreover, it’s important to claim and update local listings, or involve Yelp and Google Business to ensure that your business is properly represented, offering updated information in every platform.

Your customers can serve as the best promotion for your online reputation and it’s always a good idea to ask them for reviews and testimonials. There needs to be the right timing to ask for them and a reward may also encourage them to spend time on them. How about creating a campaign to encourage new reviews?

Once you have the reviews, feel free to share them and include them in your content marketing strategy, showing that you value your customers and you highlight their genuine and (hopefully) positive reviews.

In case of a negative review, you should never delete it, as it proves that you are not afraid of everyone’s opinion, but on the contrary, you are listening to all your customers and you’re ready to improve the customer experience.

How to get started with online reputation management

5. Start building

There should be a constant process in the creation and the management of your online reputation, from new content, to updated information to the listing sites and the encouragement of new reviews.

Once you’re active in monitoring your brand’s presence, you’re already prepared to deal with any new situation that may need your attention. It’s always helpful being proactive and brand listening, even with an automated process that may notify you for new mentions, can facilitate this process.

You can also blend online reputation management with customer service, competitor analysis and crisis management, to create a complete strategy on how to deal with any event. This will help you have a great overview on anything that involves your brand’s online presence, offering the right insights on how you can improve your relationship with your customers.

How to get started with online reputation management

Image: TalkWalker

New Study Touts Benefits of Twitter Customer Service by @DannyNMIGoodwin

Are you responding to your customers’ tweets on Twitter? If not, you could be losing out on revenue and loyalty, according to a new Twitter study.

The post New Study Touts Benefits of Twitter Customer Service by @DannyNMIGoodwin appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

How to Avoid Digital Customer Service Fails by @cynthialive

How do you keep from losing or upsetting people when you aren’t around? There are plenty of ways to avoid digital customer service fails.

The post How to Avoid Digital Customer Service Fails by @cynthialive appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Twitter Launches 3 New Customer Service Tools by @DannyNMIGoodwin

Twitter’s new features include the ability to tell customers if you provide support and when you are active on Twitter, and a larger Direct Message button.

The post Twitter Launches 3 New Customer Service Tools by @DannyNMIGoodwin appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

50 Customer Service Quotes to Live By by @albertcostill

How does your brand handle customer service? Do you have any favorite quotes regarding customer service that you want to share?

The post 50 Customer Service Quotes to Live By by @albertcostill appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Facebook Tries Out “Saved Replies” To Aid Online Customer Service by @AllieGrayFree

Facebook tests customer service messaging tool called “Saved Replies”.

The post Facebook Tries Out “Saved Replies” To Aid Online Customer Service by @AllieGrayFree appeared first on Search Engine Journal.