Responding to reviews: meet Mr Grumpy

Posted on April 22, 2011


When you think about it, it’s quite understandable that Mr Grumpy is the way he is. Living in Happyland, the fictional land in the Mr Men books where everyone is sickeningly happy all the damn time, Mr Grumpy is constantly in a bad mood – and really, who can blame him? If surrounded by annoyingly joyous people all the time, almost anyone would be tempted to grouch a little, to bring everything to a natural level.

The thing is, Mr Grumpy doesn’t work when he’s by himself. Remove him from his situation, and even I will admit that he’s just a grumpy old fella. Strangely enough, it’s something I think of when looking at reviews.

Reviews are becoming a concern for all those in business when it comes to their online reputation management. They’re desirable because they put your business in the spotlight, particularly with local search engine optimisation. Bad reviews are inevitable, however, and the way you deal with them can seriously impact on your business image.

SEO experts once thought responding to bad reviews was a bad move. This was because the added fresh content helped the page rank. Common sense has prevailed, however, and most SEOs admit that a response can help with online reputation.

For some business owners however, they see a bad review and here enters Mr Grumpy. Some wade in aggressively defending their firm’s position. Others enter as Little Miss Sunshine and pretend to be another customer, singing the firm’s praises.

Mr Grumpy does have a place in reviews, particularly bad ones, but he needs context. Saccharine responses are sickening, so some defensiveness is acceptable. However, responses need to be moderate. Balance is the keyword with negative reviews. A poor review well handled can turn into a real positive so think carefully before wading in.

When responding to reviews, don’t be Mr Grumpy, but don’t be Little Miss Sunshine either; both can be equally annoying.

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