April 4, 2019

Eliminate the Stench of a Negative Review


Colonics Spa Manager’s Response is More the Exception Than the Rule

Social monitoring. Almost sounds a bit creepy, right? But if you’re not managing what’s being said about your business out in the ether, the result could be an even creepier demise. Managing your business’s reputation is one of the most important things you can do in ensuring long-term success. Inevitably, however, you’re going to hit a few bumps in the road in regards to customer perception. And if you watched Bravo’s Dirty John, you know that someone with a grudge can wreak havoc on a company’s reputation out of revenge. Of course, that’s TV (albeit based on real events!), and the truth is most review sites have systems in place to prevent such an issue.

If you’re prone to falling down the proverbial rabbit hole that is the interwebs, you likely clicked on this hilarious Distractify article about a recent “dunk” on a customer. The reason this was so awkward is the business is a colonics clinic. Never heard of “colonics”? We’ll give you a minute to look it up. Embarrassing, right? The fact that someone would take to the anything-but-private internet to complain about a colonics experience is already shocking, but the way in which the manager responds is the real story here.

First of all, let’s take a look at this woman’s online complaint:

“Only come here if you want to pay $165 for a 20 minute colonic or receive an incomplete procedure (machine was clogged so procedure ended). I paid $180. As I wanted to give a tip since I clogged the machine (perhaps due to an increased amount of fiber).”

The manager basically called her out for being full of … ahem … lies.

First and foremost, the manager points out that she tried to take the cringeworthy exchange offline, but the customer poo-pooed the idea (sorry, had to). She notes that the customer went into the colonics room at 12:06. She then explains:

“At 12:39 the therapist went back into your room to turn off your machine because you had clogged it. You exited the room after getting dressed at 12:48. So you had more than a 30-minute session, not 20.”

Are you ready for the bomb to drop? The manager continues:

“In that session, you released so much that it blocked a 3.5-inch-wide pipe and overflowed the back of the machine onto the floor. That’s amazing for you, and we are glad you had such a successful session.”

Needless to say, not every manager can be as passive aggressive at a customer’s expense and get away with it. In fact, let’s be clear - unless you are in a business that has some elbow room for cheeky social interactions, you should avoid responding in this way.

So let’s go over what you can and should do if you find a negative online review about your company.

  • First and foremost, respond! As tempting as it is, do not ignore the comment(s). Studies have shown that ratings increase when someone from the company responds, regardless of how this is done and what is said.
  • Secondly, apologize. Yes, even if you don’t agree with the review. We know this is challenging but trust us when we tell you that it’s a must.
  • Keep emotions in check. Remember that the person who left the negative comment isn’t the only one who can read this exchange.
  • Next, offer to take the conversation offline. Provide a way for them to contact you or someone else within the company for a conversation by phone, email, or text (ideally whatever they prefer).
  • Remember that brevity is your friend. While you should address the main point of the issue directly, this isn’t the place to take the complaint line by line. Keep it short and sweet while trying to get the conversation offline.

If you do this well and the person feels heard, chances are he or she will take the negative review down from the website.

It’s also worth noting that, while effective, social monitoring is only part of the picture. It’s reactive. Your company should be taking it a step further with social listening. This means that you’ll use the metrics you’ve used to determine the success of your social monitoring to come up with a long-term strategy. Instead of just being reactive, this allows you to be proactive. If you don’t have the time, inclination, or experience in handling this, it’d be well worth looking into using a company like Yext to manage your brand reputation across all digital platforms. Yes, it’s that important.

Wondering what’s being said about your company? Start monitoring your reviews using our local listing and review scan.

By: Marnie Brodersen