What To Do If a Review Lies About You

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    What To Do If a Review Lies About You

    I recently spoke with a friend who contacted me with a little panic in his voice.  He manages a small business and prides himself on customer-friendly relations.  He is the epitome of easy-going but he was at a loss when a long-time loyal customer alerted him to a scathing and terrible review of his business on a highly used review website.  He wasn’t sure what he could do about it.
    When I asked him for the details of the review, he read the review off to me and was able to identify the customer by certain details that were mentioned.  He told me that this customer was extremely difficult, and wasn’t willing to accept any of his suggestions for remedies to the issue she was having.  At the end, he had to tell the customer that he could do no more to help her.
    What upset him more was that the customer had posted comments in the review that were exaggerations and made false references to his behavior that weren’t true.  He had objective proof that she had lied in the review.
    Sadly, this type of thing isn’t isolated.  While many reviews we encounter online are factual (and some businesses have it coming) there’s no way to stop a dissatisfied customer from ringing the loudest gong they can find even if they cheat while doing it.  With sites like Yahoo yellow pages, Yelp, Kudzu and Google Reviews taking a neutral stance, meaning they won’t weed out what is true or false, it’s difficult for many businesses owners to figure out how to manage these incidents.
    So how do you handle negative reviews?  Treat your customer as well as you can.  These people you deal with on a daily basis have a lot more power than most business owners think.  It’s always good to encourage your customers to post positive reviews when possible, and offer them incentives to do so.  This dilutes the power of any negative reviews.  When you do receive a bad review, engage that individual online and see if you can make amends.  Try to settle the dispute and show other web users that you’re willing to take care of upset customers.
    This process will likely require you to develop a thick skin.  You can expect that irate customers will likely come off rude and this attitude might sometimes be more than you can take.  One San Francisco bookstore owner was arrested for Battery when she forced her way into the home of someone who posted a negative review of her book store on Yelp.
    Of course that’s no reason to let a customer lie about you.  When things go beyond a simple difference in opinions, and you have the ability to show that you were wronged in a situation, then you can plead the issue to a review site.  If you can show that the review is dishonest, there’s a good possibility it would be removed.
    And that is just what my friend did.  The site in question actually removed the review.  My friend learned from the situation and now he takes the time to solicit positive reviews from his customers.  He works diligently to make sure that all of his customers are satisfied – including the whackos.

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