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Problem Solvers: What Do I Do When Someone Gives Me a Bad Review?

by Nikki Bromley, Pinstripe Marketing

Pinstripe Problem Solvers answer your most desperate questions about marketing.

In a pinch? Email us your problem, and we’ll help you find an answer.

“Pinstripe, help! I checked my Google Reviews this morning, and there it was—a one-star review! I remember the client and have NO IDEA what I did wrong.”

First of all, don’t panic. One thing we always keep in mind is to try and “turn it around.” If you can somehow turn a bad review into a good one with outstanding customer service, then you may have won over a lifelong advocate of your business.

When you receive a bad review, you must not ignore it. It’s not going to go away, so you need to take action.

The first thing to do is to respond directly to the review on Google using the client’s name. Be compassionate and diplomatic. Do not start an argument, say anything rude, accusatory, or make any statement that could offend the customer. Let them know that you are sorry that their experience was less than exceptional, and you want to address their problem, perhaps find a solution. Anything less than a calm, composed response can be very harmful to your reputation. Negativity, name-calling and rude behavior are immature, embarrassing, and a big no-no! No one wants to do business with someone like that.

If you remember the customer or client, and have their contact information, reach out to them by phone. Prepare yourself with some talking points. Refer to the Google Review and the fact that you’d like to not only improve their experience but learn how to make the next customer’s experience better. Admit your mistake, if you made one, and apologize. You may even want to be prepared to offer a refund on the product or service if they were extremely displeased, mainly if they had good reason to be.

We all make mistakes, and sometimes dealing with a bad Google Review is no one’s fault but our own. Make good on your mistakes, but also let the world know that you did. Once the case is resolved, revisit the Google Review and address the resolution in another response. For example:

“We are so glad we could come to a resolution, Sharon. Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback and help us to improve our service. We look forward to serving you again in the future.”

This may prompt the client to change their 1-star review to a 5-star review. Don’t count on it, but if it does happen, it’s a pleasant bonus. What you’re doing is showing others who read the reviews that you were proactive in seeking out a solution to a problem with your product or service.

On occasion, you will have a difficult client who is either manipulating you or is hard to please. In the case of the former, if you are shrewd enough, you can beat them at their game. I’ll illustrate this with an example.

We have a client (let’s call them Dave) who has a beautiful 5-star review history on Google. Their reputation is untarnished because they do such a great job at what they do, but they also take the time to address any negative reviews or concerns directly. One day, Dave received a negative review with a single star. Dave couldn’t believe it! He remembered the client, who left the office seemingly happy with their service and no complaints at all. The entire transaction was perfect from start to finish.

The person was a referral from another business, so Dave contacted that business to find out if they knew anything. The business had actually been mentioned in the review, so in a way, they were already involved. The referring business did remember the client, and everything went perfectly. The client had nothing bad to say. Through some research and a direct call to the client, Dave discovered that this person was trying to trick him into offering a refund because they had heard that significant refunds were issued to resolve negative Google Reviews. A small refund had been issued recently and mentioned in response to the initial negative review.

Use this story as a warning: be careful of issuing refunds to clients, and if you do, make it protocol to be discreet. If word travels that you’re known to issue refunds, you may find yourself in a predicament like Dave. When he confronted the client, she sheepishly took the review down, and they never heard from her again.

Bad reviews are not the end of the world. Treat them as an opportunity to improve your customer service and product offerings. Most people who read reviews will take notice that even though you don’t have a perfect 5-stars, you made an effort to provide the best possible experience when things went awry.

Get in touch with us if you have a problem that Pinstripe can solve! We’d love to hear your marketing issues and will choose one a month to respond to on our website!

Pinstripe Recognized as Top Global IT Channel PR Firm

Pinstripe Marketing has been named one of the top global public relations firms serving the IT Channel industry by Forrester, one of the world’s most reputable research firms. The rankings were determined by going directly to the source, interviewing members of the channel media and consultants to determine what PR companies “stuck out from the rest.”

In his post announcing the rankings, Jay McBain, principal analyst, Channel Partnerships and Alliances, describes the “trend that is affecting many channel leaders is the convergence of PR, marketing, and advertising. The line between them is blurring, as many channel vendors review budgets collectively. In response, today’s PR professionals have been forced to become brand ambassadors, content marketers, influencers, social media experts, and market analysts themselves.”

“I have worked with channel technology companies for over 20 years,” said Ginger Reichl, Pinstripe president. “The importance of their innovation is critical to powering business across the globe. Telling their stories is among the most satisfying work we do and to be recognized among these talented firms is humbling.”

See the entire list and read Do Channel Vendors Need Public Relations Anymore? at Forrester.

Crisis Communication Planning: Why It’s Important

by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have the perfect illustration of why it’s a good idea to have a crisis communication plan in place for your company—large or small. You probably have many stakeholders who are wondering what will happen as this crisis unfolds, from customers to vendors to employees. It’s best to be prepared with a strategy of how, when and what to communicate before a crisis occurs.

If you haven’t put a crisis communication plan in place, now is a good time to consider what steps are needed during times like this. Below is a list of things to consider.

  • What type of crisis is it? Here in Florida, many companies are prepared for hurricane emergencies, especially after Hurricane Irma gave us all a scare a couple years ago. But this COVID-19 pandemic shows that we need to prepare for other types of crises, as well.
  • Who are the audiences? Identify the audiences that you need to communicate with. You will need to create messages to communicate with each audience, and perhaps a general message for your website and social media.
  • When to communicate? You’ll need to decide a timeline for your communications ahead of time and keep a calendar of these to stay organized.
  • Where to communicate? Outline your communication channels to provide different messaging for different channels. Examples are social media, website, and email, but you may have several others to consider depending on your organization.
  • Who is on the team? Deciding who is part of the communication team well before a crisis occurs will help you mobilize to respond more quickly and effectively.
  • What is the message? Developing some sample messaging ahead of time will help you get started more quickly, as opposed to developing all messaging at the onset of the crisis.

You’ll notice that many companies have begun emailing you about the pandemic, placing COVID-19 messaging on their websites, and communicating through various channels about how this crisis is affecting their business and ability to serve you. These are good examples of crisis communication. Some companies are more organized than others and this can be very evident in the communications you receive. Make sure to prepare ahead of time!

Pinstripe Marketing has developed comprehensive crisis communication plans for companies large and small. Contact us if you need assistance with creating your crisis communication plan.

Kaitlyn Zeitler Wins 2019 Pinstripe Service Excellence Award

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Ad 2 Tampa Bay’s immediate past president, Kaitlyn Zeitler, received the 2019 Pinstripe Service Excellence Award at the American Advertising Federation – Tampa Bay Chapter’s ADDY Awards held on February 20 at Tabella’s at Delaney Creek. Presented annually by past recipients, the award recognizes the young professional who demonstrates the most outstanding contributions to Ad 2 Tampa Bay, the advertising industry, and the community.

 

Zeitler is the immediate past-president of Ad 2 Tampa Bay, and during her tenure, the organization went through several significant changes including modernizing its events, earning a government proclamation for the 2nd Annual Tampa Bay Advertising Week, completing a redesign of the website, reforming relationships with local universities, and connecting Ad 2 with agencies and companies that they had not worked with in the past. Kaitlyn also worked diligently to return Ad 2 Tampa Bay to the spotlight by earning 3rd place in the 2019 National Ad 2 Public Service Competition where she led the team as Strategic and Creative Director in addition to her duties as president.

“Kaitlyn’s work with Ad 2 not only continued the chapter’s legacy, but elevated it nationally,” said Ginger Reichl, president of Pinstripe Marketing and former Ad 2 president. “I believe public service is the most important thing the organization does and is often a young professional’s first exposure to the pro bono work for which our industry is known. Her leadership may have earned recognition at the national competition, but more significantly, it provided their client with the advertising assistance they desperately need.”

Zeitler is a copywriter at Ashley Furniture.

About Ad 2 Tampa Bay
Ad 2 Tampa Bay, Inc., an affiliate of the American Advertising Federation, is a non-profit organization of advertising professionals under the age of 32. As a 16-time National Ad 2 Club of the Year, the organization takes pride in providing both members and the community with quality educational programs, national award-winning public service campaigns, professional interaction, member employment services, fun-filled social events and much more. For more information, please visit www.ad2tampabay.org.

Pinstripe Answers: How Do I Fix a Bad Online Review?

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by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

This is a question we get asked about a lot. Getting rid of a bad review is not easy, but there are ways to fix it, all of which depend upon where it’s at and your level of interaction.

Many of our clients are in the professional services industry. They rely on recommendations and positive online reviews through sites such as Google, Lawyers.com and the Better Business Bureau. Occasionally, they’ll get a bad review on one of these sites or other lesser-known ones that may have a long term effect on their reputation. While there’s no single easy fix for a bad review, there are many approaches to lessen the effects, and in some cases turn a negative into a positive.

 

Where It’s at Matters

In real estate, location matters. The same can be said for a bad online review. Some websites allow you to respond, while others don’t. The trick is to watch them closely, set up alerts through Google and hire a reputation watchdog.

Let’s take a look at where and what you can do about it.

  • Social Media – Respond Directly and Send a Direct Message (DM)

You have “complete” control of your social media account; therefore, you can delete anything posted directly to your wall. But, business reviews on Facebook or other social media platforms cannot be deleted. You can respond to them, and this article will tell you how to formulate a positive, non-adversarial response.

Another way to handle a bad review is to send a direct message to the reviewer and find some sort of common ground. This may require an investigation into the source of their frustration, as well as some humble pie. The point is to see if they can change or delete their rating. Be very careful about your approach and the words you use. And, be humble, because saying the wrong thing could make matters worse.

  • Google – Respond Directly if Possible and Respond to Review

The world’s #1 search engine also provides its users with business ratings and snippets of reviews. You can “Manage Reviews” in your Google My Business account. Avoid using your smartphone or another mobile device when doing this. Your laptop/desktop gives you the ability to take your time and collect your thoughts—make sure spelling, grammar, and tone are correct.

Take a moment to assess a negative review before you respond. Was this customer a good fit for your business? How were their expectations not met? Can you reach out to them directly? A response is necessary, especially when there’s nothing you can do or say to make them feel better about your business. Just make sure that you follow proper etiquette and maintain a very professional posture. At all costs avoid getting into a back and forth argument with the dissatisfied customer. This is unprofessional and will make you look worse in the eyes of your audience.

A similar approach to responding to Facebook reviews can be taken here as well. Respond directly to the client by reaching out to them personally in an attempt to mend the relationship. In turn they may remove their negative feedback or change it to a positive. Win-win situation here!

  • Lawyers.com – No Response

What do you do when you can’t respond to a bad review or several of them? You go on the offensive and reach out to as many clients as possible and solicit positive reviews. To capture their attention, offer them something in return, such as a book that’s relevant to their industry or free consultation. Be creative with this, because the more you get, the less substantive that negative review will be.

  • Yelp.com – Respond Directly and Send a Direct Message (DM)

People are paying attention to how you respond to a positive or negative review. So, you need to respond to every review, but take your time to know more about a negative review before you respond. If you don’t know the “whole” story, you may hurt your chances to change that bad review. This starts with reaching out to the reviewer. If you know their email address, send them an email. If not, you can DM them through Yelp. Find out more about the situation and how you can remedy it. If they aren’t willing to respond, then compose and post your response to their review.

 

Your Response Needs to Be Timely

You need to respond as quickly as possible for each negative review for a couple of reasons. The first is so others will see that you are committed to your clients and care about their experience with your business. The other reason is that you have a major opportunity to change a bad review into a good one. According to Yelp, you have a 33% chance to change a bad review into a good one if you respond within 24 hours.

The Pinstripe PR team are reputation management pros and can help mitigate negative comments. We have helped local and nationally-based businesses with their online reputation. Contact us to learn how we can help strengthen your reputation.