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How to Best Handle Negative Online Reviews

Online reviews are becoming an increasingly popular way for people to express their opinions about businesses. Typically, these reviews are either really good or really bad. Good reviews are easy to handle, because there is no necessary damage control. But negative online reviews are a bit trickier. If you get a bad review, you should tread very carefully. Public reviews can lose you business, especially if your response isn’t an appropriate one.

Getting a bad review can be very frustrating to a business owner or employee, and your gut reaction may be to take the criticism personally. However, if you respond to a negative review while you are upset, you are more likely to make the situation worse. We have put together a list of tips for dealing with negative feedback online.

Be Positive

Remember that nobody likes getting negative reviews online and that it isn’t personal. The best way to respond to a negative review is with a positive, constructive message in return. If you lash out, you have no chance of turning that customer’s opinion around. Take a minute to carefully craft a response to give yourself a good shot at remedying the situation.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of the customer. They are clearly unhappy. Your goal should be to make them happy enough to use your service or products again. How would you want someone to respond to your negative review?

We also recommend having a few different canned responses at your disposal to use. You won’t want to use the same response every time, but if you have a few different responses that sound natural, you are on the right path to dealing with negative reviews.

Create canned responses for both negative and positive reviews to save you some time and decision making later. Understand, however, that these canned responses are just a template to build from.

You should also try to remember that negative reviews give you feedback to become better. While they aren’t fun, they are a good way to learn about the flaws in your company.

Resolve the Issue

While this seems obvious, it can be very difficult to solve the problem. Responding to a negative review is only part of the process. You have to actually attempt to fix the problem that the customer has. This doesn’t always mean that you need to give away free services or products.

Instead, you can make sure the customer knows that you heard what they said and that you are working to fix it. If you customer thought that an employee was rude, assure them that you will discuss the issue with the aforementioned employee. If the customer was dissatisfied with your valid pricing, let them know that you understand that your prices are higher than your competition and explain that you provide an exemplary service.

Bring the Conversation Offline

Part of these canned responses should include a request for customers to reach out to you outside of a public setting. You could ask them to call or email your company to prevent fueling the fire online. This not only shows other reviewers that you are trying to remedy the situation, but it also prevents further negativity caused by the first review.

You will want to have some other dialog in the response, however, because just asking a customer to contact you isn’t going to cut it. If you don’t acknowledge the issues from the reviewer in your comment at all, other people will question your business.

Closely Monitor Reviews

After you get a bad review, you will want to be a little more conscious of your reviews in general. You should let this experience teach you how to better monitor incoming reviews. Learn the platforms your customers are using to review you and monitor them closely. This can help you better react to all types of reviews in the future.

Eventually, more reviews will come in and bump down that negative review, but you will want to make sure that they are positive reviews. If you notice a large number of negative reviews, you may want to consider making some big changes in your business. While one bad review probably won’t hurt your business, having a lot of bad reviews will.

It can be difficult to manage all the places your reviews are coming in from. Using a tool to help you manage incoming reviews is a smart way to make sure you don’t miss anything. Websites like ReviewMy.Co can alert you to new reviews, as well as give you more reviewing options. Instead of publicly posting a negative review, ReviewMy.Co gives reviewers the option to privately review your company via message, which allows them to still feel heard, but doesn’t damage your company’s reputation.

When it comes to mastering negative online reviews, the real key is to be human. You need to be able to admit a mistake, fix the problem and move on. Doing all this without further damaging your business’s reputation is key. It can be a tricky situation, but following a few basic guidelines can help turn around bad customer experiences and gain your business a new respect from your customers.

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