How to Deal with Negative Reviews Online

Back in the old days, if a customer had a bad experience with a business, he or she may have filled out a comment card and complained to a few close friends. They probably would not have purchased a bullhorn and then marched down the streets of every neighborhood, cursing the business’ name.
In the present day, customers don’t need to buy a bullhorn or go door-to-door to broadcast their opinions. They have the internet.

Methods of Dealing with Negative Reviews Online

The internet can be a gift to growing businesses trying to make a name for themselves, but it can also be a curse if they receive the dreaded negative review. However, a negative review does not automatically mean your business is over. In fact, if you follow these five steps, you can turn that negative review into a positive learning experience.

Stay on Top of Your Online Presence

Since 79% of U.S. adult internet users state they check online reviews before making a purchase or visiting a business , it’s important to be aware of what people are saying about you online. Staying up-to-date on customer feedback is crucial in responding promptly to negative reviews. If you find out someone has left a negative feedback, you must act quickly, because the longer you wait, the longer others will be able to read that negative review. Even worse, if you stay silent on the issue, your customers may believe that your business is not worthy.

Dealing with Negative Reviews Online
Dealing with Negative Reviews Online

Prepare Your Mindset Before Writing a Response

In other words, stay calm before sitting down at the keyboard. It’s often our first instinct to get angry or defensive when we’re criticized. However, in this situation, it’s best to remain objective and try to see things from the customers’ perspective. Try to be empathetic because it’s the customers that keep your business afloat, and it’s your job to make sure they’re satisfied.

Offer a Sincere Apology

When responding to the review, make sure your apology is sincere and personalized. Don’t give a generic response that could apply to any scenario. Instead, make sure to let the customer know that their opinion is being heard and taken seriously. Most customers simply want to know that a business cares enough to admit when they’ve made a mistake and will try to prevent it from happening again. Acknowledging the mistake is sometimes all it takes to fix the situation.

Suggest Taking the Conversation Offline

If the situation still needs to be defused, invite the customer to have a discussion with you elsewhere, via email, for example. Let them know that you want to work something out with them to make up for what happened. If the situation is fixable with a simple refund, do it! Don’t let your pride get in the way of these simple fixes. Customers can add or update old reviews, so by putting in the effort to win back their favor, you might even be able to reverse the damage of their original review.

Thank the Customer

Lastly, always remember to thank the customer for giving your business the opportunity to improve, because that’s precisely the purpose negative reviews serve. Reviews are meant to be a resource to your company–even negative ones—because they reveal how and where you can improve your business. End your response by showing your gratitude for the feedback and invite them to come back in the future to give you another chance.
In an ideal world, your business would not have to deal with negative reviews because you wouldn’t get any to start with. However, in the real world, it’s unlikely you will be able to please every single customer. So when you receive negative feedback, deal with it graciously and use it to keep improving your business.

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