How To Avoid Negative Reviews (and what to do if you get one).
Updated: Sep 17
In a world where we are worried about follows and likes, sales, and numbers we sometimes forget about something even more important. The connection with people, kindness and how this affects our businesses and digital marketing efforts.
If you’ve ever gotten a bad review online or want to avoid ever getting them at all, then we need to talk about soft skills! Soft skills can make or break your marketing efforts in a big way.
In a recent podcast, I sat down with Brian Grossman, Partner at 36 creative, who has a passion for teaching team management, soft skills, and mindfulness. We talked about how soft skills, or lack there of, can really hurt your business and how it trickles into you digital marketing efforts creating. (Listen here).
What are soft skills exactly?
Soft skills are what make us, well, soft, in a good way. A great way, actually. They are character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person's relationships with other people. "They are universally applicable or valuable. It's valuable for life," Brian shared. These skills make us likable and pleasant to work with. So why is this important in marketing?
Why soft skills matter for your marketing.
In marketing, we always say, you want to build trust because people want to work with those who they like and trust. And that really starts with soft skills. Someone could be THE expert in their field, but if they make you feel unwelcome, unappreciated, not respected, well, you’re probably not going to choose to work with them. Same goes for you and your team, you need to make sure those soft skills are acknowledged at every level, because they will affect your business. They will affect every aspect of the client experience, from introduction all the way through to the conversion of a new client and down to your reputation online.
Soft skills, or lack there of, trickle down through all of your marketing efforts until it makes it appearance online in the form of reviews. And I have a great example to share.
How one bad apple spoiled their online reputation.
I was looking for a particular service in my area. I was Googling, as one does, and found three businesses that I was considering using but first, of course, I wanted to read the reviews.
I started reading the reviews for one business in particular. It looked promising; Everyone was raving about this person, how much they loved working with this person; Let’s call them Sara. Almost everyone said, “Sara is so great!” …But then I started seeing people say things like, “but the receptionist is so rude,” “the receptionist is so unwelcoming,” “the receptionist was so disrespectful”.
This wasn’t just one or two reviews from some disgruntled clients. No. This was dozens of reviews. All of them said something along the lines of “We love working with Sara but we had to start going somewhere else because the receptionist was so unpleasant to work with, which is a shame because we loved Sara.”
What’s that saying, one bad apple ruins the bunch? Even though everyone seemed to love the business in general, the receptionist left them with such a bad taste int heir mouths that they went so far as to stop doing business with them and write not so great online reviews. The reputation of the business was starting to tarnish all from a lack of soft skills on the inside.
My guest Brian explained how he saw the levels of soft skills within a business and how it trickles down into your marketing. "In marketing, there are multiple levels of soft skills. You need to understand what's going on with the clients, the client's clients, at every level... It's like an onion of soft skills."
How to be mindful and create a great client experience.
Marketing is not only important for creating a name for yourself and brining in new clients, it is also needed to nurture existing clients. It is needed to create a great client experience and keep client retention high.
The client and experience and client retention, is such a key part of your small business marketing because word will spread! You need to make sure your entire team is aware of how their interactions with clients, those soft skills, are affecting the business, because they can bring the entire reputation of your business down. And you can see by just this one example how it even trickled down in to the digital marketing efforts of the business through online reviews. Where even I, in turn, chose to not do business with them because of it.
So, how do we actively work to avoid situations like this? Where a bad experience leads to bad reviews online.
Mindfulness and soft skills.
Responding to negative reviews.
If you do get a negative review, DO NOT ignore it and DO NOT get defensive. Use it as an opportunity to learn more about their experience and offer guidance and a solution. Responding to reviews shows the public that you care, that you are responsive and willing to go the extra step to make it right.
Have you ever had an experience where customer service stepped in, went above and beyond to fix a crapy situation? Their attentiveness and attention to detail makes you likely to return.
Leave them with positive feelings
When we leave a business thinking, “Wow they were so easy to work with! And they were so nice.” We are more than likely going to return. But if we leave a place feeling unappreciated, we are sure to take our business elsewhere.
Be sure you are aware of this always. You want to leave your clients associating your business with positive feelings. Be sure that you yourself are mindful of these interactions, but also be sure that your team or staff, also are mindful and aware of how these interactions affect everything in your business.
Especially in service-based businesses where you are working directly with people. They want to work with those they like, and trust and who provide a great client experience. And clients who have a great experience are going to talk. You can use this to your advantage. Ask them for reviews online, ask them for referrals, stay in touch and market to existing clients to keep them coming back for more.
At the end of the day, people want to work with kind people.
If you need help creating a great client experience from start to finish, reach out and together we can create a plan.