The 7 Step Guide to Managing Negative Customer Feedback: A case study in consumer fraud, social media & the power of reviews.

If you’ve ever been the recipient of a bad online review of your business, you may find yourself frustrated by the apparent lack of control we as entrepreneurs have over things being said about our business – especially if they’re not true.

What proactive steps can you take to protect your business, and how do you best handle a peer review gone wrong?

1. Adapt your mindset.

The worst thing you can do is tell yourself this article isn’t relevant to your business and click away.


We need to adapt in order to survive and thrive, and today’s consumers have more power than they’ve ever had to affect our success.
70%  of Canadians online trust consumer reviews. (BDC, 2013)
Negative sentiment can go viral, quickly – as exemplified by the Applebee’s social media nightmare – and can be very difficult to manage.
Understanding the change in buyer behaviour and accepting that it’s not going away, frees you up to take in the following information to help protect your business.

2. Get informed:

Increasingly Canadian consumers such as you and I, rely on the web to make our purchasing decisions.

social media

1. Canadians spend on average 2.5 hours a day online; on social media, watching videos, & researching products and services. ComScore, 2014
2. Nine out of 10 consumers claim to use their smartphone for pre-shopping activities BDC 2013
3. 70% of Canadians online trust consumer reviews. (BDC, 2013)
None of this is particularly surprising.
The widespread adoption of web connected smartphones is not a new phenomenon.
In fact many older and wiser of us lament the pervasive nature of these devices and their impact on social connection –  and more practically – our ability to walk down the street without literally running into people distracted by their smartphones.

social media
Beyond being a mildly irritating obstacle to efficient walking, this change in how we as a culture interact has widespread implications for today’s business owner.

The constantly connected state of today’s consumer – specifically – your customers – means your customers shape your brand’s reputation.

Customers and the public at large (reasonable and otherwise) can seriously impact your ability to acquire new customers and maintain your reputation.

3. Know that negative sentiment goes far beyond review sites:

You may have heard of “reputation management” in the context of managing reviews of your business, or even been approached by a less than integrity based business offering you positive reviews of your business, for a price.

But beyond the formal review channels, people can leave negative sentiments on your Facebook page, in response to a post on social media…and almost anywhere else on the web.

4. Start listening:

Google your business name to see what comes up. You may be surprised at the places it’s listed and what people are saying about your company.

If you are surprised, it’s a sign to implement some practices internally to start monitoring your company’s reputation.

You can either manually conduct a search regularly or implement an automated solution to alert you immediately of any new conversations about your business.

Here’s a handy list of 5 tools to help you monitor your online reputation from Social Media Examiner.

5. Address any and all reviews.

You may be tempted to ignore bad reviews or complaints, but believe it or not it makes you look worse if you don’t reply publicly.

Here are 5 tips to responding to reviews from Google My Business.

Tips for responding to reviews

Business owner responses allow you to build relationships with customers, but they’re also public. When replying to your customers, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Be nice and don’t get personal. This isn’t just a guideline–it’s also a good idea as a business owner. It’s difficult to win an argument with a frustrated customer, and you want to avoid burning bridges. Keep your responses useful, readable, and courteous. In addition, responses should comply with our local content policy.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Users are looking for useful and genuine responses, but they can easily be overwhelmed by a long response.
  • Thank your reviewers. Respond to happy reviewers when you have new or relevant information to share. You don’t need to thank every reviewer publicly, since each response reaches lots of customers, not just one.
  • Be a friend, not a salesperson. Your reviewers are already customers, so there’s no need to offer incentives or advertisements. Tell reviewers something new about your business, or share something they might not know from their first visit.

6. Go above & beyond:

The tone and speed of your response to a bad review is where you can really make or break your reputation.
In this CTV news clip, I was asked to comment on what appears to be a fraudulent sale of goods by a household brand.

This would never have become a news story if the response to the customer’s complaint on their facebook page hadn’t been a canned response to call their 1 800 number – where the customer didn’t get a response.
In the case studies above, with Winners & Applebees, both responses to the negative sentiment were woefully inadequate and appeared completely disingenuous.

Because customer sentiment can so powerfully and permanently affect your reputation, if you are in the wrong (like I believe Winners was ) you need to go above and beyond-
1.Get the customer’s information
2. Make an effort to get in touch with them right away.
3. Work to resolve the issue to their satisfaction
4. Once you get agreement on a solution, ask if the customer will then update their post with details on how you came through for them.
5. Going forward – work with your social media manager to create a policy for addressing unhappy customers in a way that shows you actually care.

7. Be proactive

By actively soliciting positive reviews- and incentivising your customers to do so, you can combat any negative and unfair reviews with a steady stream of positive reviews.

Copy and paste this templated email and send out to all your happy customers;  ( just replace the links with your Facebook & Google Plus page links before you send )

Dear customer,

Thank you so much for your business.

Please- tell us how we did!

Would you be so kind as to post a review for me on my Facebook page or my Google page?

I really appreciate you taking the time to give me your feedback!

Social Media Success in just 17 Minutes a Day

If you need a straight up checklist of how EXACTLY to spend your time on social media, you’re in the right place.

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Here is what you should and should not be doing, each day at minimum, to maintain your credibility.

When I started, I found myself getting stuck in the three major pitfalls people fall into when it comes to social media marketing:

1. I ended up spending hours a day on social media marketing sites, without generating any tangible results.

2. Feeling the pressure, I set up more profiles than I could keep up with, so I had all these abandoned accounts which were doing more to harm my reputation than anything.

3. No matter what I posted, I wasn’t able to generate much interest or interaction, which was really discouraging.

85% of Internet users have Facebook accounts; 49% are on Twitter. (HubSpot)

Through years of trial and error I’ve been able to identify the key actions that will generate results.

(Tell me! What other frustrations are you having with social media? Share below in the comments.)

More importantly,  this checklist will show you how to integrate social into your daily life so you can consistently apply these practices in the minimum amount of time per day.

Obtaining results in a short period of time usually requires working smart & being very focused. So, before you start, make sure you’re present where you’re most likely to get new prospects.

It’s important to find out where your target market is on social media . Once you’ve done that, you will need to commit to 17 minutes a day at minimum.

Social Media In 17 Mins A Day: Cheat Sheet

Bookmark this page or print a copy of this sheet for a handy daily social media checklist.

5 days a week: 17 minutes

▢ I’ve checked my newsfeed and engaged (comment, like, etc.) with 3-5 contacts

▢ I’ve shared content from people on my “hit list” or list of influencers, clients, strategic alliances

▢ I’ve checked the “people I may know” section and added at least one person

▢ I have added anyone I’ve met in real life on my social media profiles

▢ I’ve replied to comments, answered questions & acknowledged all interactions.

*TIP* Set a timer to keep yourself accountable

One day a week: 17 minutes

▢ Create and schedule at least one post a day through these posts should be 90% non sales related.

▢ Add, Follow or Friend 3 related or peripheral businesses/market leaders

▢ Measure & adjust your content based on what content your audience responds to (I use Google Analytics for this)

Points to remember:

▢ Social media is more like networking than marketing. Be personable, not pushy.

▢ It is better to be consistently on one platform than absent on many.

▢ Give of your knowledge & expertise to generate value

▢ I use my smartphone to download the social apps which will make real time engagement easy for me

▢ I champion others to build trust & get my network to grow

If you find that you need more background information before you start, check out these related posts:

How to Alleviate Social Media Guilt

3 steps to creating an online sales funnel

The complete guide to blogging for Beginners

If you found this post valuable, then please feel free to share!

How to Banish Social Media Guilt

Today we’re going to talk about how to alleviate
social media guilt.

If you’re trying to use social media to generate more leads, credibility and exposure for yourself you probably are suffering from social media guilt.

It’s a phenomenon that occurs when you feel like you’re not on the right
social media web sites, you’re not engaging enough, you’re not posting enough and you’re missing something.

I’m here to give you three simple ways that you can alleviate that feeling.

So the first thing is to find a time to schedule in maybe a half an hour where you can schedule your social media posts in advance.

The program is called .HootSuite allows you to
schedule your social media posts in advance. I recommend taking a half an
hour chunk on a Sunday or a day that’s slow and post all your posts for at least a week in advance, per network.

So, that even if we have everything go sideways that week at least you know that your social media posts are done.
The second thing I want you to do is download the mobile apps for each of the social media accounts that you’re on.

What this’ll enable you to do is whenever you’ve got a spare moment, just
check in to your social media accounts and engage with your network.

This offers you a really quick and easy way to engage when you’ve got me a few
minutes to spare stuck in traffic or if you’re waiting for someone to show up for a meeting or something like that.

The third thing I want you to do is set an alarm so when you are actually on a
desktop computer and you are checking your accounts.

I set my alarm so you’re not on there wasting time, looking at pictures
of cats.

If you liked this video, please share! What do you struggle with in social media? Share in the comments below.