Online Reputation Management: Your Contingency Plan for Bad Reviews

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The importance of contingency planning

The importance of contingency planning for bad reviews of your beauty salon is a key part of your online reputation management.

In today's interconnected online world, a single negative review can go a long way. This is important:

Because, increasingly, studies and surveys show that people trust online reviews almost as much as they trust word of mouth recommendations from friends. 69% of people will not use a brand which they have seen negative online reviews of.

This means a single poor review can be a real drag on your business. Figuring out how to get rid of bad reviews isn't where you need to start though...

The place to start is before you receive any reviews in the first place:

Monitor your online reputation

In order to be aware that you have a bad review which you need to deal with, you need to be properly set up to monitor your online reputation.

This monitoring system needs to cover everywhere your salon appears online where people can leave reviews or comments about it, including:

  • Google, especially Google Maps
  • All social media platforms
  • Sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp
  • Your own website

You can set up and use Google Alerts and other tools or rely on your digital marketing agency to handle this all-important monitoring for you.

The vital thing is to monitor everywhere reviews and comments about your salon can appear.

Make a plan for bad reviews

Hopefully, you will never receive a poor review. But it's always best to plan for the worst. There are several things you should decide in advance regarding the actions you will take about online reviews:

  • Responsibility – who is in charge of monitoring bad reviews and comments? For most single-location salons, this works best if it is one person who knows what they are doing. Many people outsource this to experts because it can be challenging to do correctly.
  • Response – who chooses which comments and reviews are responded to? Usually, you will want to aim to respond to all comments and reviews. Only massive companies really need to pick and choose. Remember – you should always respond to positive reviews too.
  • Positioning – what is your company's position when it comes to issues and what can be promised as action to restore good opinion? If the person or agency in charge of your social media does not know what they can promise or what to say, they should know who to speak to find out.

Consider your tone of voice

It can be tempting to write off poor reviews as being written in bad faith or by a person who has expected something impossible of you. This may well actually be the case.

Unfortunately, the reason why someone left the bad review is largely immaterial. You need to be seen to respond in a way that is:

  • Polite
  • Professional
  • Personable
  • Understanding
  • Fast

Analyse the aftermath and follow through on your promises

Part of contingency planning for bad reviews is setting up a system to see if the reviewer actually had a point.

This might involve taking action. It definitely does if you already promised your client that you would. For example, you might:

  • Ask any employee in question for their side of events
  • Check to see if a system is working as well as you thought it was

Bad reviews can offer the possibility for positive change. At least, they can once you've analysed them and taken them on board.

Gather positive reviews first

A single bad review looks a lot better if it's set against dozens of positive ones. Consider:

  • Asking clients for feedback well before reviews get left behind
  • Requesting that happy customers leave you a review

Because the importance of contingency planning is vital if you're wondering how to get rid of bad reviews.

But it is much easier if your previous online reputation management activities have left you with plenty of positive reviews to point to in the first place.

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