OTAs urged not to delay dealing with negative online reviews

It is vital to contact customers leaving negative reviews within 24 hours, and use third-party companies to collect reviews to achieve credibility, advised panellists at Ace’s Columbus Day.

In a panel discussion with bosses from online retailers On the Beach and Voyage Privé and third-party online review system Feefo, experts highlighted the importance of using social media to engage with customers, in the hope of turning a critical customer into a loyal client.

“People are not expecting you to respond within a minute, but they are expecting you to respond in 24 hours,” said Alistair Daly, chief marketing officer of On the Beach.

“The key thing is to deal with it on the [online] platform itself, don’t delete the review, and show that you are dealing it,” said Daly, adding: “That can go a long way.”

Andrew Mabbutt, managing director of Feefo, said that even if you don’t ask customers for their reviews, “they will talk about it anyway”, doing so online under the gaze of hundreds of web users.

“I would say don’t hide from negative reviews, embrace them, as long as you have more positive reviews than negative,” said Mabbutt. “They can be good for business as long as you show you care about your business.”

John Bevan, managing director of Voyage Privé, said that his company has software that notifies staff about negative reviews, so they can react fast and engage with the customer.

He told the audience that they have had several people who, having given them a bad rating, gave a more favourable review after being contacted by Voyage Privé, saying “wow, I can’t believe you cared”.

“If you messed up, say you messed up,” added Bevan. “Be honest.”

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