5 Star #Fail

Jul 25, 2013 | Brand Differentiation

No brand wants to receive a negative product review, but it happens. Sooner or later someone is going to post a less than flattering comment about your company. And when that day comes do not remove or hide the comment.

I witnessed one of my favorite brands go from sticky to dud when I discovered they are filtering customer reviews. Their policy is to remove product reviews on their website that have a rating of 3-Stars or below.

Their flawed social media policy is destroying the bonds of trust.

(I am not disclosing the company name, because I don’t want to harm their business.)

Do you want a social business?

Customer reviews are powerful, because they offer social proof. Ongoing positive feedback demonstrates people are buying the products, they like them, and they’re willing to share their input.

That said, not all comments will be positive. Before you add a product review option to your website you have to decide if you’re willing to take the good with the bad.

It’s simple. Will you accept negative feedback on your site? Yes or no?

If you don’t want to see negative comments on your website, don’t provide your customers an opportunity to post their feedback.

Transparency trumps flattery

If you decide to have a social business you’ve got to be transparent.

You can’t hide from the truth for long. If it’s ever revealed that you’re filtering reviews then your credibility will be shot.

Negative reviews can be grouped into 3 categories:

  1. Honest feedback on the product or experience.
  2. A response to a customer service issue, and the customer is using a public channel to resolve the problem.
  3. An unpleasable critic that is compelled to vent.

You can’t do much with the unpleasable critics, but the first two groups of complaints are opportunities to engage your customers and solve problems. Use their feedback, and improve your brand.

How you decide to engage your customers online demonstrates the type of brand you’re building.

It’s hard to recover once you misstep

The company that is deleting the negative reviews has lost my trust and realistically lost my business. Yes they could get me back, but it’s going to take a significant move on their part to re-engage me.

Trust takes time to develop, but it can be lost in a moment. Regaining trust requires a brand to proactively engage its customers, provide over the top service, and recognize they’re building the relationship from the ground up.

These crises are avoidable. You don’t have to get into a situation where you’re rebuilding trust.

What’s your opinion? Should a company moderate the reviews on its website?

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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