Reputation Management: Negative feedback can have an impact on your company’s brand; it’s what you do with that feedback that counts.
Every company has or will receive negative online reviews. It’s almost inevitable that customers will be disappointed in the service or attention they received. There are many ways of handling negative online reviews, but what happens when the complaint about your business comes from an ex-employee?
Negative online employee reviews can hurt your business, whether you’re trying to recruit new team members or keep current ones happy. According to a Society of Human Resources Management study highlighted in a Zip Recruiter article, “94 percent of workers believe that negative comments on employer review sites damage an employer’s brand.”
That same survey reported that “75 percent of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before applying for a job, while 62 percent of job seekers visit social media sites to evaluate an employer’s brand.”
It’s clear your online reputation is crucial when it comes to recruiting and keeping top talent, yet many companies don’t have a plan in place for reputation management.
We offer 8 ways to fix and even use negative employee reviews to improve your business
1. Keep abreast of online review sites
If you don’t know what people are saying about your company, you can’t do anything about it. It’s important to monitor popular online job sites that allow employees to post reviews. These include Glassdoor, Indeed, and CareerBliss, but there are also many industry-specific job sites. Company reviews can also be posted on less obvious websites like Yelp.
2. Use Google to monitor mentions of your company online
Google has several tools available that will allow you to monitor what’s being said about you and your company online. Google Alerts allows you to monitor the web for mentions of specific keywords. You can set up alerts for your company name, key executives, and products you might make or sell. It will even find mentions in the “Comments” sections of blogs and articles.
It’s also possible to monitor social media sites like Facebook by searching for keywords. There are also tools for sites like Twitter that can be set up to send you alerts when certain subjects or names are mentioned.
3. Develop a reputation management policy
In order to respond to negative company reviews, you must have a plan in place. “Have a policy that offers guidelines for responding to negative employer reviews or at least address the situation within your general social media policy. That way, when you’re dealing with a bad review in the heat of the moment, you’ll be less likely to let your emotions get involved,” according to Insperity.
Your plan should include who will respond to reviews, whether it’s someone from human resources, management or a customer service representative.
4. Investigate the issues thoroughly before making any response
It’s important to know who and what you are dealing with when it comes to negative online reviews. This is especially true if the criticism seems to come out of nowhere. “If the negative review raises issues that you were unaware of, investigate the complaint within your organization before you compose a response. You want your reply to sound informed and concerned so you can remain in control of the situation, and discuss your solution and action plan,” according to the same Insperity article.
5. Keep it private
The initial response to a disgruntled ex-employee should always be made in private, if possible. Responding online often leads to a war of words that can quickly escalate out of your control. So, analyze the complaint and then reach out to the person once you’ve formalized a response.
6. Keep it personal
By this we mean let your response be made personally, with openness and honesty. “Transparency is best and adds a human voice. Try to empathize with the former employee. Stay as objective as possible, and always offer a solution to the problem,” according to Insperity.
7. Use negative reviews to your advantage
While it is never fun to have your company criticized online, it’s important to use such instances to improve your business. Try to look at the matter objectively and determine if there is validity in the claims being made. If so, this affords you the opportunity to improve policies or systems to create a better work environment where employees are happy to come to work. This also shows current employees that you are willing to listen to honest criticism and make changes when necessary.
8. Head off negative complaint beforehand
The best way to handle negative company reviews is to try and ensure you don’t get them. Create an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable coming to HR or management with concerns and suggestions. Communication is key. If you’ve created an environment where your employees feel they are being heard, you can effectively head off the negative reviews before they even happen.
Customer satisfaction surveys are common, but how often do you gauge employee satisfaction? Try doing an employee survey and really look at the feedback with as much objectivity – and the least amount of ego – possible. Look at the results, and if you see many of the same negative comments or areas of concern, then find ways to address those issues.
Negative online company reviews are a part of doing business but having a strong reputation management plan will help you fix the problem. Use these 8 tips to fix your bad company reviews.