Last Updated on August 5, 2020
For An Appropriate and Proactive Response
If it hasn’t happened to your business yet, it will: You or one of your employees comes across a negative online review. Customers leave them on sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google as well as niche specialty sites and the Better Business Bureau’s site. Businesses can’t afford to ignore online reviews completely, but you also don’t want to overreact and make matters worse.
Keep Things in Perspective
According to reputation expert Tash Jeffries, a few negative reviews may actually make your business more appealing if they are mixed in with numerous positive reviews. Sites with 100 percent positive reviews set off alarms for a cynical online audience – many readers know less ethical businesses pay for positive reviews that aren’t authentic. A negative online review may also point out where your business could improve, and examining those areas is important to companies that want to grow.
Review the Situation
When you discover a less-than stellar online review, it’s a cue to review both the pertinent situation and your overall processes. First, determine whether the review is accurate — is the customer complaining about something that actually happened? Some people launch retribution campaigns online for personal reasons — although it’s a difficult process, you can seek to have completely false reviews removed.
Try to Resolve Issues with the Customer
If the complaint is at all accurate, identify whether the issue was a unique situation or a recurring problem in your process. In either situation, post a public apology to the consumer so others reviewing the site know you are a responsive company that takes customer service seriously. When appropriate, try to resolve the issue with the customer directly–in the best cases, a negative review eventually becomes a positive review.
An Accurate Negative Online Review Should Spark Change
Reviews that point out real issues are cause for some sort of change. From small actions like staff training sessions to changes in websites, order fulfillment processes, or contact procedures, taking action can prevent additional negative reviews. You work hard to create an online brand through SEO equity and other methods — don’t let a few negative reviews derail your progress. Act proactively, appropriately, and tactfully to address concerns raised in reviews.
How have you handled a negative online review?