Community Management 101: Managing Public Reviews

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There’s no getting away from reviews nowadays. You find them on search engines, on social media, in apps, and on dedicated review sites including TripAdvisor, Yelp and Google Reviews. Consumers rely on them to decide which restaurants to eat at, which films to see, the best hotels to stay in and so on.

While some companies are reluctant to get involved with review sites, fearing that they’ll get negative reviews, it is important to take control of these conversations and manage them appropriately. Research has found that 91% of 18 – 30 year olds trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations and that more than 50% of adults under 50 consult reviews before making a purchasing decision.

In Part 3 to our community management blog series, we discuss how the way a company handles reviews – both positive and negative – can have a big impact on whether or not they make a sale.

Before we dive in to some top tips for managing public reviews, you should know that we have a QuickBuzz video covering the whole Community Management series if you prefer to learn by listening.

Don’t Ignore it

The worst thing you can do is ignore bad reviews or complaints posted on review sites. If you do, it’s possible your critic will create a #1 hit song about how bad your brand is. Yes, this actually happened to United Airlines and reportedly cost them $180 million and a 10% drop in stock. Don’t let it get to this point.

If someone is at the stage of leaving you a bad review, they may have already tried reaching a customer service team privately and are now venting their frustration publicly. This may be your last chance to salvage the relationship before it goes permanently sour, so be sure to keep an eye on those negative reviews and respond to them.

Show Empathy

If the consumer leaves a negative review, being empathetic will serve your business well and make your customer support team stand out.

Use their name, rephrase their concern in your answer, propose a solution and be gentle in your response, saying you understand how they feel. This will show not just the reviewer in question but also to other readers how well your company handles customer service. It also helps if you can describe what initiative you have taken to ensure that this negative situation does not occur again.

Take It Further

While it is extremely important to address negative reviews which are public, sometimes it is better to take such matters privately. Acknowledge the review but redirect the reviewer to a link to your customer service team or an email address/phone number for them to contact you privately to resolve the situation. This will show that you take any negativity seriously and want to offer a concrete resolution.

Is the Review Credible?

While some reviews are genuinely reflective of a customer’s experience, not all reviews have merit and so it is important that you defend your business at all times. For example, if a hotel received one star because the review was unsatisfied with the location – which is clearly posted on the hotel website – you should flag, report and try and have it removed.

Cross-Sell in Your Responses

When responding to a positive public review, selling your products will entice the customer to visit again. If you alternate between different products or menu suggestions in your responses based on what they’ve said they liked about your business, this will show variation and appear genuine.


If you need help with community management, social media advertising or any other marketing service, the team at fatBuzz is here to help.

Get in touch with us today to enquire about our marketing services.