Writing/Responding to Negative Messages (Ch. 8)–please see the information from ch.8 for help
The consumer reviews on Yelp can be a promotional boon to any local business — provided the reviews are positive, of course. Negative reviews, fair or not, can affect a company’s reputation and drive away potential customers. Fortunately for business owners, sites like Yelp give them the means to respond to reviews, whether they want to apologize for poor service, offer some form of compensation, or correct misinformation in a review.
Search Yelp for a negative review (one or two stars) on any business in any city. Find a review that has some substance to it, not just a simple, angry rant. Now imagine that you are the owner of that business, and write a reply that could be posted via the “Add Owner Comment” feature. Use information you can find on Yelp about the company, and fill in any details by using your imagination. Remember that your comment will be visible for everyone who visits Yelp. People searching for restaurant reviews often do so on mobile devices, so make sure your message will be easily readable on smartphone screens.
Enter a link or copy of the Yelp review along with your response.
Information from Ch.8:
Responding to Negative Information in a Social Media Environment
For all the benefits they bring to the business, social media and other communication technologies have created a major new challenge: responding to online rumors, false information, and attacks on a companys reputation. Customers who believe they have been treated un- fairly like these sites and tools because they can use the public exposure as leverage. Most companies appreciate the feedback, too, and many actively seek out complaints to improve their products and operations.
However, false rumors and both fair and unfair criticisms can spread around the world in a matter of minutes. Responding to rumors and countering negative information requires an ongoing effort and case-by-case decisions about which messages require a response. Follow these four steps:
1. Engage early, engage often. The most important step in responding to negative information has to be done before the negative information appears, and that is to engage with communities of stakeholders as a long-term strategy. Companies that have active, mutually beneficial relationships with customers and other interested parties are less likely to be attacked unfairly online and more likely to survive such attacks if they do occur. In contrast, companies that ignore constituents or jump into spin doctoring mode when a negative situation occurs dont have the same credibility as companies that have done the long, hard work of fostering relationships within their physical and online communities.
2. Monitor the conversation. If people are interested in what your company does, chances are they are blogging, tweeting, podcasting, posting videos, writing on Facebook walls, and otherwise sharing their opinions. Use automated reputation analysis and other technologies to listen to what people are saying.
3. Evaluate negative messages. When you encounter negative messages, resist the urge to fire back immediately. Instead, evaluate the source, the tone, and the content of the message and then choose a response that fits the situation. For example, the Public Affairs Agency of the U.S. Air Force groups senders of negative messages into four categories, including trolls (those whose only intent is to stir up conflict), ragers (those who are just ranting or telling jokes), the misguided (those who are spreading incorrect information), and unhappy customers (those who have had a negative experience with the Air Force).
4. Respond appropriately. After you have assessed a negative message, quickly make the appropriate response based on an overall public relations plan. The Air Force, for instance, doesnt respond to trolls or ragers, responds to misguided messages with correct information, and responds to unhappy customers with efforts to rectify the situation and reach a reasonable solution. In addition to replying promptly, make sure your response wont make the situation even worse. For example, taking legal action against critics, even if technically justified, can rally people to their defense and create a public relations nightmare. In some instances, the best response can be to contact a critic privately (through direct messaging on Twitter, for example) to attempt a resolution away from the public forum.
Whatever you do, keep in mind that positive reputations are an important asset and need to be diligently guarded and defended. Everybody has a voice now, and some of those voices dont care to play by the rules of ethical communication.
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