How to Deal with Negative Online Reviews

An incredibly intelligent man once said, “… in this world nothing can be certain, except death, taxes, and negative reviews.”  This intelligent man was also blessed with a strikingly attractive bone structure.  Alright, it was me.  I said it.

As a local business owner it’s important to realize that negative online reviews are going to show up and they should!  Bad reviews give your consumers a reason to believe the good ones.  According to a recent study on online reviews by Reevoo68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores.  Further, 95% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores!  Maybe it isn’t really all about that 5-star rating after all – more like a 4.3-star rating? 🙂

While negative reviews aren’t the end of the world for your business, it’s important that you deal with them the right way.  Here are a few of the most important tips to remember when fielding negative reviews:

  • Respond promptly:  Leaving a poor review to sit without a response is an easy way to let others join in on the party.  Don’t give them the chance.  Reach out to unsatisfied customers as soon as you can, even if it’s a simple response asking for direct contact offline.
  • Fact find / Keep it personal:  Make every attempt to personalize your response.  Introduce yourself as an individual, not “Big Bad Business A,” and call the consumer by name.  Look into the situation with your staff and make sure that you know the whole picture going into your response.
  • Leave your ego behind:  Sure, the customer may be wrong.  Being combative in your response, however, looks terrible to others.  Sympathize, don’t make excuses, and show that you value their review as a business that is looking to constantly better itself.
  • Make direct contact or ask for it:  A public response is only the first step.  If you have the contact information of the reviewer, reach out to them.  If not, ask that they contact you personally and offer your phone number or e-mail.

When dealt with correctly, a few bad reviews can strengthen your business.  That said, you should also consistently be generating positive reviews.  Being proactive in your reputation management strategy will drive a much larger amount of positive reviews than passively allowing reviews to come in.

Typically, an unsatisfied customer has all of the motivation they need to write an online review.  As a business, it is your job to give happy customers that extra push to review as well.  Reevoo’s online review study also shows that the percentage of poor reviews generated decreases 20% when your business proactively asks customers for their feedback!

While negative reviews are here to stay, dealing with them the right way will keep your business in great shape.  Just remember, stay on top of what people are saying about you online, consistently work to drive fresh reviews, and always pay your taxes.

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