3 Best Practices for Handling Negative Reviews

Getting reviews can be exciting and is a big part of having a strong web presence. However, getting a negative review is never fun. So what do you do? First, DO NOT PANIC. It’s easy to get emotional over negative reviews and take them personally, but you have to put those feelings aside before you take action. Some unfavorable reviews may be true and will help you realize where you can improve. Other unfavorable reviews may be unfair and unjustified. Remember that no matter how good of a business owner you are, there is no way you can please everybody, and that’s ok. Negative reviews, if handled properly, can actually help your overall online reputation. In fact, what we’ve noticed is that anything with a 100% rating, whether it be Amazon or Yelp, is a little fishy. Nobody gets a perfect score every time. A bad review shows that you are a real business with real reviews. Here are some best practices on how to turn those unfavorable reviews into reputation boosters.

1. Respond Publicly

It’s important to stay on top of your online reputation and be aware of what people are saying on various review sites like Demandforce, Yelp, Google or any other online platform. Claiming your pages will ensure you get notified when someone writes a review. Remember, your response is not only for the reviewer, but for the entire public.  When current and future consumers see that you respond to reviews it shows that you care. New consumers are not necessarily worried that something bad will happen, they are worried that something bad will happen and nobody will help them. By responding to negative reviews you are reassuring those potential consumers that you are willing to help them.

2. Be Positive

You must stay positive and show empathy. If you get a glowing review don’t hesitate to thank them, but you do not need to respond to every good review. When responding to negative reviews, make sure NOT to respond in a heated or emotional state; stay positive and remember this is not a personal attack. Address the feelings of the customer and apologize for the negative experience (ie “we are sorry to hear you had a negative experience in our office”). Let them know you strive for certain expectations and anything less is unacceptable. People want to be heard and understood. No matter what the reviewer has written you want to avoid pointing fingers back at the consumer. Instead of apologizing for a mistake that did not happen, apologize for the experience. Restate your expectations and what you strive for and always stay professional by keeping to the facts. Then, fix the problem.

3. Fix the problem

Once you’ve addressed their negative experience it’s important to explain the steps you’ve taken to fix the problem. As noted above do not hesitate to contact the client to fix the problem. Many times it’s easier to come to a conclusion, or a fix, when talking with the person directly. Avoid responses that may result in a back and forth conversation and don’t be afraid to contact the client after responding to their review. Even if the customer does not get what they want, it speaks volumes when you show that you are taking action when someone has a negative experience. Again, stick the facts to avoid emotional comments. Customer satisfaction is a priority for any business. You can earn your customers trust back by listening to their needs and offering a solution.

Remember, it is impossible to please everyone. Getting both positive and negative reviews shows the public you are a legitimate business with credible reviews from real people. Responding to negative reviews in a professional and empathetic manner will not only help regain your customer’s trust and business, but also save your online reputation.