By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, Contributing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
If a customer is unhappy with your service, don’t be surprised if he takes to the Internet to voice his frustrations about you. If you venture to review sites — such as the popular rating site Yelp.com — you may find a venting client giving you low marks for customer service.
You can’t please everyone, and sometimes clients may consider your work not up to par, even if you did do everything you could.
So what do you do when you find yourself on the receiving end of negative online reviews?
Monitor your online presence so you can be aware of any negative comments posted about you online, and respond to them, Stacey Harmon, founder of AgentApplause.com, told a crowd of real estate professionals at the Inman News Agent Reboot in San Diego on Wednesday. Agent Reboot is a series of one-day conferences nationwide that highlight the latest marketing and technology trends.
Harmon recommended handling criticism in the following way:
1. Find the negative comment. First, you have to know what people are saying about you. One way to do this: Set an alert at Google.com/alerts (it’s free!). When the keywords you set — such as your name and company — surface on the Internet, you’ll be notified via e-mail with a link to where it appears.
2. Respond immediately. Acknowledge that you’ve seen it. But take your emotion out of it — even if that person’s gripes seem unfair, Harmon says. Don’t apologize. Instead, she recommends writing something along the lines: “I hear you are unhappy with the service I provided.” Then provide your e-mail and phone number to invite that person to talk with you more about it. You’re showing other people that you’re professional and welcome feedback.
3. Get other people to talk positively about you in the same place. Don’t let the negative comment override positives about you. You want positive comments to appear in the same place so that it will outweigh any negative comment posted on that site, Harmon says.
Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.