How to Properly Deal with Negative Online Reviews
Almost 80% of adult Internet users in the United States read online reviews before deciding to visit a store or make a purchase. This means positive reviews are a great tool to attract customers to your business and negative reviews on the other hand can really hurt the bottom line!
That said, there are still a lot of small business owners who choose to ignore online review sites or responding to reviews because they are simply scared of dealing with bad reviews. There could be a concern as research shows that one in 25 business owners gets impacted by a negative online review and that number continues to grow. Keeping in mind that 83% of consumers say online reviews influence their decisions.
The chances of getting affected negatively are low, but it can happen. If a customer criticizes you online, how should you react?
What Not to Do
Here are some of the things you should not do whenever a negative review about your business pops up.
- Do Not Ignore Reviews
Ignoring a bad review is one of the worst things you can do. This will only make the reviewer feel justified in his or her frustration towards you for not addressing their concern. Other readers will also start to question whether you really care about your customers and customer satisfaction.
Ignoring negative reviews will make it look like you deal with bad situations regularly and will make you seem as if you do not care about customer service at all.
- Do Not Engage in Online Battles
Online trolls are sometimes unavoidable. There are people who go around the internet just to write bad reviews. If you find yourself in a situation that can lead to an exchange of abusive language, just be the better person and respond politely by saying that you would be more than happy to resolve the issue or fix the problem and ask the person to contact you offline.
By responding this way, online readers will get the impression that you are reasonable and not as petty as the complainant.
- Do Not Get Defensive
It is normal for people to respond negatively when another person criticizes them, especially if the complaint is unsupported. But responding out of rage is not useful and can lead to a downward spiral.
You should take some time to think and relax before responding to negative feedback. It can be difficult to sound apologetic and not defensive when a bad situation happens due to a miscommunication. But even if you were not at fault, try not to rub it in the client’s face as this can only make things worse and cause more negative feedback.
- Do Not Fish for Great Reviews to Hide the Bad Ones
The best reviews come from clients who were genuinely happy with your products and services. Forcing people or even paying to get more good reviews will not sound genuine and can look odd on your review pages. Online readers are more than likely to take the negative reviews seriously than fake-looking positive reviews.
What You Should Do
After reading about the things to avoid when dealing with online reviews, here are some of the things that you should do when you get bad reviews.
- Always Acknowledge the Customer’s Problem
A lot of clients that complain online simply just want to be acknowledged. Before diving deep into the issue, it pays to empathize and apologize to your customers first and not blame them. Show that you sincerely regret that he or she left your business on a negative note.
You are more than likely to change a customer’s mind and turn their bad review into a great one if you apologize and explain the issue politely. Around 33% of bad reviews on Yelp turn positive when you take some time to acknowledge disappointed customers.
- Deal with the Issue Offline
To avoid an online discussion that other people can see, you should always try to leave a genuine, respectful public comment and then try to take the conversation about the issue offline by asking the dissatisfied customer contact you to directly.
Taking the issue offline demonstrates that you are fully willing to address this situation, and not just apologizing to look good.
- Promote a Positive Image of Your Company
When replying to negative online reviews, try to include a few of your business’s strengths without sounding like you are trying to deny the guest’s claims.
Responses can be used to flip the script and portray your business in a positive way while acknowledging your customers’ issues at the same time.
- Be Real and Personal
Be authentic and reach out to your customers on a personal level. You should always be sincere when dealing with negative reviews. You should not leave a standard response.
Whoever is writing the response to the review should use their real name, explain their position, and leave their direct contact information.
- Learn and Improve
After properly dealing with a customer’s issue, use the negative reviews as a learning curve.
If you regularly receive bad reviews or if a lot of people cite the same disapproval, then it is time to make some improvements on your end.
At Maxeemize, we ensure that your online review management investments are maximized for better ROI. We have the expertise, knowledge, experience, as well as creativity, to deliver unique solutions that produce better results for your digital marketing strategy! Contact Us for a free consultation.
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