Stalking your competitors’ reviews can be an extremely effective technique for getting new customers. That said, it’s a strategy that’s more art than science, and must be done very carefully.Responding directly to negative feedback left for your competitors is generally a very bad idea. It can make you look like a jerk, and will more than likely make your competitors pretty unhappy. So, how can you leverage your competitors’ negative reviews to generate leads?
Monitor your competitors’ blog comments
Scouring through blog comments will often yield a number of negative comments or unanswered questions from customers. It will also give you some insight into how your competitors typically respond or react to negative feedback.Don’t respond directly to negative comments left on your competitors’ blog! I’ll cover some much more effective ways to utilize these comments at the end of this post.
Use Google Alerts to stay on top of brand mentions
Google Alerts remains the industry standard tool for monitoring online mentions. Set up alerts for mentions of your competitors’ brand name, product names and the owner’s full name.This will immediately alert you to mentions – both good and bad – across the web. This will include blogs, news articles, and other web pages.
While you can try setting up alerts for keywords that might indicate negative reviews (e.g., unhappy, complaint, negative), more than likely you’ll have to manually search for all the comments and mentions.
How to use negative reviews to get new customers
Respond directly to dissatisfied customers As already mentioned, this is something you should do with extreme caution. Responding to questions and negative comments on your competitors’ social media feed or website is generally a pretty terrible idea, so should be reserved for one specific circumstance: if your competitor has abandoned (or virtually abandoned) their website or social media account. Even in this situation, avoid criticizing your competitor, and move the conversation offline asap.
Regardless of how or where you engage with your competitors’ unhappy customers, always try to avoid criticizing the competition. Instead, focus on being empathic (“I’m sorry you had such a bad experience”), and on providing useful information or advice