Call in the ambassadors!

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(Or how to deal with negative reviews on Facebook)

Social media, specifically Facebook, has provided today’s business owners with a unique tool to connect with their customers and potential customers on a day-to-day basis. And while the benefits of this connection are many, like anything else you engage in, there are risks as well. A main concern shared by many of my clients is: what do you do if someone posts a negative or less than favourable review on your Facebook page?

I recently received a late night phone call from a client who had experienced just that. Of the 65 reviews she’d received to date, almost all were five stars. A disgruntled customer left a one star review and made some extremely damaging claims about her business.* As a business owner who has slaved over the last 11 years to build her business, she was understandably beside herself.

So, what to do?

A gut reaction might tell you to simply delete the review. However, Facebook doesn’t allow you to delete reviews. And even if it did, deleting a negative review could actually anger the person who left the review even further, and you never know what the result could be.

With that in mind, here are some steps you can take when you receive a negative review:

Step one: Reach out to the person who has left the negative review and stay positive!

In this case, my client had already responded to the review using a positive tone in an effort to address the customer’s concerns, get more information and rectify the situation.

“We are so sorry to hear that you were unsatisfied with your experience with us! We would love to make it up to you and answer any questions you may have; please send us a direct message with your contact information so we can be in touch with you and help put your mind at ease!”

Not only does this address the customer’s concerns directly, it also opens up the lines of communication to hopefully resolve the issue.

You can also use the negative review as an opportunity to educate the reviewer about your strengths. These could include the length of time you’ve been in business, how many customers you serve a day or a week, and what your mission is.

“But what if others see this review?” is another question that gets asked. In this case, the customer would see that you’ve reacted to the comment in a positive fashion and have tried to address the problem, which shows you care about your customers and your business. There is also potential that other customers will come to your defense.

Step Two: Report the review to Facebook.

Now, if the review is offensive, slanderous, or does not meet Facebook’s Community Standards (check them out here), you can report the review to Facebook (instructions here).

Step Three: Call In the Ambassadors!

If you have built a great following on your Facebook page, you are likely to have loyal customers (AKA Brand Ambassadors) who are happy to stick up for your business when a situation like this arises.

In this case, my client was frustrated that the one negative review her business had received showed as one of the first reviews on her business’ Facebook page. My recommendation was to approach her customers, explain the situation, and ask those who had not already reviewed her business, to leave a review.

Well, they came in droves. Within 12 hours, 23 customers had left five-star reviews with glowing comments about the business. Not only did these comments boost the overall rating of the page, they essentially sank the negative review and dropped it from the front page of the business’ Facebook page.

Remember you can ask your current fans and customers to review your business on your Facebook page at any time – it doesn’t always have to be in reaction to something negative.

In conclusion, when dealing with a negative review: respond positively as soon as possible to address the review, rectify the issue, and highlight your strengths; report it to Facebook if necessary, and, finally, call in your ambassadors to wave your flag!

*Side note: It turns out someone who had recently scammed the business left the review. Until the person left the review, the business owner didn’t know the person’s identity. The silver lining of the situation was that the owner has since reported the incident to the police, as she was able to finally identify the person thanks to the negative review.