10 Feb How to Handle Negative Reviews
In today’s digital world, the way that your customers talk about you online is important. While you may see chatter about your brand on social media, the main indicator of your online reputation is customer reviews. We’ve written in the past about how to encourage your customers to leave reviews, but what happens if one of those reviews is negative? Unfortunately, getting an occasional bad review is part of running a business. They can happen for a few reasons. Maybe one of your employees made a mistake, or maybe your service didn’t meet a customer’s expectations. It’s impossible to please everyone. However, once a negative review is out there, it usually can’t be removed—but there are ways to soften the impact it may have on your reputation. Here are the steps that you can take to respond to a bad review in a constructive way.
1. Respond quickly.
The most important thing with most negative reviews is to make sure they aren’t left unanswered. If someone was upset enough to write a bad review, those feelings are only going to intensify if not addressed. What’s more, responding quickly may allow you time to salvage the relationship and regain the reviewer’s business. After all, according to a study from WebPunch, 33% of online reviewers are looking for a resolution to their problem, not to cause harm to the company.
2. Don’t be generic.
When customers leave negative reviews, they want to be heard. Responding with a prewritten, generic response may indicate to them that you aren’t concerned enough to engage authentically. While it is okay to have a basic template written for dealing with negativity, be sure to customize your response to the individual situation. Show empathy and compassion—starting as simply as using their name in the response.
3. Maintain professionalism.
Sometimes, negative reviews may include harsh language or a skewed recollection of what occurred. Remember that as a businessperson, you have more to lose than the reviewer by using hostility. Even if you are certain that the customer was in the wrong (which may often be the case), respond with kindness and humility. Don’t attack the reviewer, and certainly do not include any personal information about them in a public response. In fact, it’s better to let your public response be very minimal. Which brings us to the next step…
4. Take it offline.
This is a standard best practice for reputation management. Taking the discussion offline will allow for a more constructive conversation and help you give the issue the attention it deserves. How do you do this? Put a public response out apologizing for the reviewer’s unsatisfactory experience and provide your contact details. It’s best if this is a direct phone line or a real person’s email address (rather than a email@example.com style email). If you have the reviewer’s information in your customer database, respond to the review saying that you will reach out and then do so, privately. Know that the person may never respond—especially in cases where they know they may be in the wrong. That’s okay! One main goal of acknowledging reviews this way is to indicate to future customers that you are compassionate and willing to work toward resolutions.
5. Correct the issue, if possible.
This may seem obvious, but do anything in your power to resolve the issue concerning the reviewer. People remember negative experiences—which means they also remember when negative experiences turn into positive ones. If you can solve the problem, you may see them remove or amend their review, as well as share their stories with friends and family. Having a previously unhappy customer walk away happy is the best strategy for reputation management that there is!
Repair Your Reputation
Has your business seen a few bad reviews? They happen to everyone—but they don’t have to destroy your reputation. The Media Venue team is here to help you rebuild! Our reputation management services include monitoring your reviews and working with you to formulate responses to the good, the bad, and the ugly. Call us today at (502)855-4783 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
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Sarah Kelley is the newest member of the Media Venue team and brings with her a wealth of insight. Her specialty is using SEO best practices to cultivate your business’s online presence. Her in-depth knowledge of website content and design allow her to constantly implement new and effective practices in her work.