In recent years the power of the consumer has grown astronomically. Between shopping in the store, on a computer, or even on smartphone, when it comes to exchange of goods and services nowadays, the consumer is king. Additionally, having the power to pen a public review in the palm of your hand has added even more power to consumers, who have more options than ever to engage businesses and fellow consumers after transactions.

So what does this mean for businesses?

Well, as the number of access points for consumer to business engagements increases, so does the importance of managing reputation. There are thousands of ways to post a review of a transaction, and while it may seem daunting for a business, the rise in review platforms comes with a rise in options to manage reputation. Just think of a simple engagement on Facebook. A consumer posts a review on a business page. Good or bad, the business has the option and also the obligation to respond. In other words, the relationship between reviewer and business is no longer a one-way street; businesses have more of an opportunity than ever to manage good reviews and make bad reviews right.

So how should a business approach reputation management?

With fervor. Reviews online and on mobile apps have a lot of indexing power that can influence both customer retention and new leads. Businesses have no excuse to not stay on top of reviews. It is important to note that reputation management comes easier in the service industry, as consumers are much more likely to leave positive reviews for interactions in restaurants or coffee shops. It’s also easier for those businesses to fix negative reviews caused by bad experiences, as they can respond with apologies backed by compensatory offers. Also, due to the frequency of transactions in these industries, there are more opportunities to offer surveys and promote feedback from more consumers.

A business like EMS, however, must devote extra attention to reviews. This is because people do not often go out of their way to applaud their merchant services company. When reviews come, they are often negative, and for this reason they must be approached promptly and correctly.

So what is the correct way to approach a negative review?

Due to the fact that even the most beloved products can have harsh reviews, salespersons should be trained to engage with reviewers and prospective customers pragmatically. An apology is often an empty gesture in the eyes of a consumer, so be sure to get the point across that you want to fully understand the concerns at hand.

When customers cite negative reviews, be compassionate. Respecting a customer for doing research and asking them where they came across their findings is a good starting point, because it can help create a dialogue while also locating a negative review. Ask them what other services they have had used. Always keep in mind that even if you can’t convince a prospective customer to go with your services or mend the bridge between a spurned customer, you can always use the exchange as research to locate problematic reviews and uncover prejudices.

At the end of the day, every business will come across a negative review. Staying on top of review platforms will not only help you locate damaging information, but will also give you the chance to make things right. Often times a bad review can be publicly mended and even become a positive review. Consumers like to see a responsive business who treats each consumer as a person and not a sum of their purchases.

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Electronic Merchant Systems is a registered ISO/MSP for BMO Harris Bank, NA, Schaumburg, Illinois, Esquire Bank, Jericho, NY, Merrick Bank, South Jordan, UT, and Chesapeake Bank, Kilmarnock, VA.