11 Best Practices for Handling Negative Online Reviews

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Before choosing your company to do business with, most potential customers will search for your business online to see what other people are disclosing about their experiences with you. Needless to say, online reviews play a significant role in attracting new customers and growing your business.

However, it is almost certain that at some point an dissatisfied customer will write a negative online review about your business. While business owners often wonder if and how they should respond to a negative review, experts are of the opinion that appropriately handling a negative review can minimize damage and may even get the reviewer to remove negative content from the source site.

While no business wants to get negative online reviews, they are bound to happen. Here is our list of 11 best practices for responding to negative online reviews:

  1. Don’t ignore the negative review: Ignoring a negative review may seem like the best move, but a timely and professional response is a better plan of action. Professionally responding to online reviews will not only help establish a long-term relationship with the customer but will also show that you are trying to resolve customer concerns.
  2. Offer an apology: Try not to be defensive or aggressive, and never accuse the reviewer of faking the situation. To change negative perception, you should try to explain why the incident occurred. Remember, while you are communicating with the reviewer, other people may be reading your statements and wondering whether or not to do business with your company.
  3. Offer to resolve the concern: If the reviewer’s concerns are related to poor service or malfunctioning product, it is your responsibility to address the issue. Customers often post negative reviews to businesses that are trying to evade the blame. Therefore, don’t play the blame game, and look for ways to keep such issues from happening again.
  4. Respond offline, if required: Depending on the nature of the problem, rather than leaving a public comment you may choose to reply privately through email or by phone. If you can resolve the matter to the customer’s satisfaction, you can leave a brief comment for the public to read.
  5. Keep your target audience in mind: While you are focused on responding to the specific review at hand, it is critical to understand that you are writing for your customer base as a whole. Your existing as well as potential customers are going to read the online reviews, and your responses will project to your customers that their satisfaction is your priority.
  6. Look at the brighter side: If every review on your website is positive, potential customers could become suspicious that the reviews are “fabricated” and not real. Therefore, a couple of negative reviews can contribute to building customer trust.
  7. Share reviews with your team: Make sure every employee in your company is aware of positive and negative reviews you have received. Not only will this help in implementing processes to prevent similar issues in the future, but it will also encourage a customer-first approach among employees.
  8. Know when to stop responding: Some customers are difficult to please, and they just love to complain. Their only mission is to complain, leave damaging remarks online and cause trouble for you. Do not engage with such customers for long. Just say your version of the story, apologize and move on.
  9. Learn from the negative review: If you know that the negative review has merit, the best thing to do is take proactive steps to improve the problem area. Use the information provided by the reviewer to prevent another customer from having similar problems in the future. Always remember, no matter how harsh the review sounds, you can always learn from it.
  10. Thank the reviewer: The reviewer took the time to alert you about an issue, and it is your responsibility to thank him or her for giving you the opportunity to address it. Had they simply shared their feedback at a friend’s party, it would not have been possible for you to fix the problem.
  11. Hire someone to manage online reviews: Drafting a proper response to an online review, especially a negative one, is not an easy task. The best response should take into account not only the concern raised by the reviewer but also how the company plans to resolve it. Online reputation management firms are capable of tackling negative responses head on and ensure that people only see the positive reviews when they search for your business.

Online reputation is crucial, and negative reviews could affect your reputation. So the most efficient way to manage negative reviews is to hire reputation management consultants. An online reputation management company will monitor your online presence while implementing strategies to help you look your best.

myOnlineReputationManager’ online reputation management tools allow you to monitor online reviews so you can address negative reviews quickly to prevent escalations and regain your customer’s confidence. Call us to learn more.

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