Reputation Management

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theBDX.com 11900 Ranch Road 620 N, Austin TX 78750-1345 © 2015 Builders Digital Experience, Inc. All rights reserved. W H I T E P A P E R | R E P U T A T I O N M A N A G E M E N T Responding to Negative Online Reviews Home building is a very human business and we, as humans, all make mistakes. The internet amplifi es those mistakes making them more visible. Gone are the days when you would address an issue that made it into print media and then quietly went away. Online reviews don't go away. They have to be handled differently than other potentially negative public relations issues. Don't let negative brand or employment reviews cause further damange by going unanswered. Delays allow the current situation to escalate leading to lost sales or potential employees. That said, we believe there are right and wrong ways to respond. It is uncomfortable to admit mistakes and takes courage to publically acknowledge them. Online, that is exactly what you have to do. This is important for two reasons: (1) When done right, it keeps the PR issue from escalating, and (2) it minimizes the ongoing damage of negative information that remains visible. This second point is what differentiates handling online vs. offl ine reviews. Potential customers and employees are going to see your response or lack thereof. Reviews handled with care will both prevent additional negative reviews and reduce the impact of the bad reviews. We believe a builder should respond to a negative review in a timely, authentic, and humble manner. A personal and conversational tone is generally preferred. Here are some guidelines: Show empathy: Apologize and express that you understand the pain/inconvenience caused. It does not matter if what they are saying is 100% accurate, you don't want to debate or seem defensive. Try to understand their point of view and how the situation made them feel. Demonstrate your contrition: Empathy alone is not enough. Express how your actions were wrong and what you are doing to fi x it. Show that you are taking steps to make amends and prevent similar issues. Without making excuses or sounding defensive, stress the positive: This is the tricky part, but an oppor- tunity to turn lemons into lemonade. Let's assume something positive (e.g., company growth) contributed to unintended employment related results. In this case, you should point out the jobs and advancements made possible through your growth, but admit to the negative consequences. Ask for feedback: Ask the poster to come back and comment on how you did with resolving the issue. When a prospective customer or employee reads your response, they should be thinking: "Some of the reviews I see here are bad but at least the company has acknowledged the issues and are seeking to fi nd a resolution." If someone wants to come to work for your company, they want to believe your story. Page 5

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