online reputation management

5 Important Things To Remember When De Escalating An Online Crisis

By: Sunder Singh

Your online reputation is just as important these days as your real life reputation. These days, individuals and companies check online reputations before deciding whether to do business or associate with a person or a company. In particular, negative business reviews can significantly impact not only your company’s online reputation, but your sales. Left unchecked, negative business reviews can even jeopardize the future existence of your company. It’s essential to learn how to handle negative business review in the correct way.

If you’re an individual, a bad online reputation can impair your ability to get a job, a girlfriend or join a professional organization. In short, a bad online reputation for an individual is just as damaging as it is for a business.

negative business reviews

Unfortunately, online comments, reviews and content are not always accurate. Sometimes others have less than upstanding motivation to take others down. This kind of online content can be indiscernible from genuine reviews and content about a person or a business. Someone on the internet trying to find out about you or your company may believe the false negative things that have been posted online.

Other times, the negative content may bear a resemblance to the truth. Maybe you went through a tough time where your customer service wasn’t perfect, or you had some rogue employees treating customers poorly. In the case of an individual, maybe you had some negative content posted about you when you were immature, or still finding your way. You don’t deserve to be marked for the rest of your life for the indiscretions of your youth.

When this negative content builds up, you may be facing a full-blown online crisis. The situation may get so out of hand that you’re facing complete ruin or a loss of your standing in the community. When an online crisis does occur, as it so often does, it’s essential to keep in mind the following five things. Doing so will help you to deescalate the online crises so it doesn’t have the potential to ruin your life.


1. Don’t Hide From the Internet

If you’re running a business nowadays, you need to have an online presence. Don’t try to hide from the internet, even when there is a lot of negative content about you. Doing so will only make you look suspicious or irrelevant. Today, everyone expects a business to have an online presence, which in the case of reviews, means having an online business representative. If you don’t have the time, inclination or resources to have an in-house online business representative, hire one from a third party company who is an expert in getting rid of bad content and posting positive content.


2. Don’t Deny

Everyone can spot a lie ten feet away. Don’t try to deny the incident, or attempt to discredit the reviewer with feeble follow up comments. Sometimes online negative comments are posted just for the amusement of the poster, to get a reaction out of you. That kind of person is called a troll. If the reviewer is indeed a troll, your denial will only fan the flame. If the reviewer is sincere, your company will look even worse. Denials will only make you look bad, so don’t even try it. Instead, work with an expert to bury the negative with positive content.


3. Acknowledge the Review

Your online representative will need the authority to speak on behalf of your company. In the case of bad reviews, your rep may acknowledge the review as an official spokesperson for your company. When they acknowledge the bad review, readers will see that you pays attention to, and cares about, what is being said about you on the internet. To be even clearer, the acknowledgement should communicate that your company is listening, and regrets the bad experience that the reviewer had. In some cases, it may be better not to acknowledge the review, because that could bump up the content to a more recent date, making it appear higher up in the page ranks. It’s important to know when to acknowledge bad reviews and when not to. Timing is often very important, too. If you wait too long to take care of an online crisis, the online public may start asking what took you so long to acknowledge it. That’s why you need to hire a reputation management company to take care of the situation on your behalf, as soon as the crisis is identified.


4. Offer an Explanation, Not as Excuse

If you do decide to acknowledge the issue, it’s important to do it in the right way. It’s one thing to provide a possible explanation for the bad experience; quite another to list a bunch of meaningless excuses. Have your company rep explain what likely happened to create such a bad experience that warranted the review. An explanation, to be clear, accepts blame. Explanations clarify the incident. Excuses place blame, and pull from other irrelevant sources in order to make the incident look trite. Here are examples:

Explanation: “We’ve been cutting back on personnel recently in an effort to save money. In light of your bad experience, we plan to revisit our decision.”

Excuse: “You came in during the lunch hour, which is probably why you couldn’t find an employee to help you. You should try coming in during more normal hours.”


5. Consider the Services of a Professional

It can be very overwhelming to try to deescalate an online crises by yourself. The internet is a vast network, and to get this kind of crises under control requires action from multiple points. It’s worth it to consider enlisting the services of content removal expert’s online reputation management professionals to rein in the bad situation that’s happening. Otherwise you risk losing control of the situation and having it spiral out of control.

These tips will help you to deal with both bad personal online content and negative business reviews and online content. When you learn to handle negative online content correctly, and enlist the aid of professionals, you effectively neutralize the threat and deescalate the crisis as soon as possible.


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