Don’t Let a Bad Review Derail Your Business
Even the best businesses will get a negative review on Google or Yelp from time to time. Negative reviews can impact everything from your website’s organic rankings on Google to whether or not consumers decide to buy your product or service. In fact, market research has found that it takes 12 positive reviews in order to counteract just one negative review. But just because you made a mistake or dropped the ball one time doesn’t mean that your business deserves to be dragged through the mud or that your reputation should be forever ruined. Bad reviews happen, and it’s how you deal with them that can truly make or break your online reputation.
What Not to do When you Get a Negative Review
When you’re dealing with a bad online review, it’s just as important that you know what not to do as it is to know what you should do. Here are a few things you should never do when your business receives a negative review:
Take Bad Reviews Personally
No matter how many people say that business isn’t personal, the reality is that it’s very personal, especially when your business is something you’ve built from the ground up with your own two hands. When someone criticizes something you’ve put so much heart and soul into, it’s perfectly natural to get a little mad and take steps to defend it, and this is especially true if you believe that the complaint was illegitimate.
But no matter how justified you may feel or be in the situation, responding out of anger and defensiveness is only going to make matters worse. When you respond to a negative review, it’s not just between you and the individual who left the review; the entire world can see it play out.
Get Pulled into a Debate or Battle
Not every individual who leaves a bad review about your business will be easy to appease. You may, in fact, run into a troll who would rather keep complaining online than accept an apology or solution and move on. It’s always a good idea to address customer complaints and negative reviews, but it’s important to stay at a professional, reasonable level when you do so, even if the reviewer argues, tries to pick a fight or resorts to calling you childish names.
Ignore Negative Reviews
Regardless of whether you believe a review is legitimate or not, ignoring it is not the way to go. If you don’t address a negative review, it will make the reviewer feel even more justified in their anger, which can further hurt your reputation. Additionally, other potential customers will be able to see both the negative review and your response to it. If you ignore it, it sends the message that you care very little about customer service.
Be Hasty in Your Response
When you get a negative review, it’s important to respond in a prepared manner. Off-the-cuff responses will often be emotionally charged, which isn’t helpful to your company or your clients. You don’t want to wait too long to respond, but it’s important to prepare what you’re going to say ahead of time rather than just responding in the moment. This will ensure that you are responding in a more professional manner.
What to do When You Get a Negative Review
Now that you know how not to respond to a negative review, it’s time to learn about what you can do to turn the situation around. Oftentimes, it’s the customers who are the unhappiest and most unsatisfied that can turn into your biggest allies, but you have to put the time and energy into making it right before you can earn that trust and respect. Here are a few positive ways to respond to a negative review:
Learn From Past Mistakes
Sometimes, the negative reviews you get might be totally illegitimate, but in the vast majority of cases, bad reviews stem from very real problems. The best and most successful businesses are the ones that take the feedback given by their customers and use it to get better. When you get a negative review, take it to heart and actually look into it. If one customer had a bad experience, then chances are, another one will in the future, but you can avoid these bad interactions if you learn to take negative feedback and actually try to get better from it. Learning from your mistakes is especially important if multiple negative reviews are about one thing.
Acknowledge the Problem and Apologize
Ignoring a negative review won’t make it go away, but acknowledging the problem behind that bad review and apologizing for it is a surefire way to turn a negative experience into a positive one. In fact, marketing research found that 33 percent of the negative reviews on Yelp can be turned into positive experiences when businesses make it a point acknowledge them and apologize for them.
This is not to say that you’ll change the minds of every customer who leaves a negative review, but acknowledging and apologizing for the issue has just as big of an impact on other potential customers reading that review as it does on the reviewer itself. Taking the time to acknowledge and apologize for a negative review will show others that, while your business may not be perfect, you truly have your customers’ interests at heart and you’re willing to make it right when mistakes are made.
Respond Quickly, But Not Too Quickly
As we mentioned earlier, hasty responses are rarely positive responses, as they are often born out of emotion. Preparing to respond to a negative review is important, and it will help you to come off as more professional and effective in your response. However, this doesn’t mean that you should take a week to respond to a bad review. If you take too long, it will look as if you are ignoring the problem or trying to sweep it under the rug, which will only further frustrate the dissatisfied customer and send the message that you don’t actually care to your other customers.
As much as you can, always try to respond to negative reviews within 24 hours. This will give you enough time to prepare a sincere, authentic response and eliminate the possibility of an overly emotional, off-the-cuff response that will only hurt your reputation more.
Shine a Positive Light
Negative reviews can hurt a business in many ways, but they can also be beneficial in many ways. For one, potential customers are going to be more likely to believe that your positive reviews are actually authentic if there are a few negative reviews in there as well. Additionally, responding to a negative review will give you a chance to shine a positive light on your business.
Acknowledging and apologizing in response to a negative review is important, but that doesn’t mean that you have to accept all of the blame at face value. Saying something along the lines of, “We’ve been in business for more than 15 years, and we always try to do what’s best for our customers no better what. We apologize that we fell short in living up to our dedication to excellent customer service in your interaction, and we will do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” will help to highlight the positive aspects of your business rather than detracting from your brand.
Respond Publicly, But Know When to Take the Conversation Offline
Both negative and positive reviews are made public for anyone and everyone to see, and it’s incredibly important that you respond publicly when you receive a negative review. This demonstrates to both the reviewer and any potential customers reading that review that you are willing and able to make it right when you make a mistake. However, it’s also important to know when you should take the conversation offline.
Sometimes, no matter how many times you apologize and what you do to make it right, the disgruntled or unhappy customer doesn’t want to hear it. As we mentioned earlier in this blog, some people aren’t offering constructive feedback and instead want to simply air their complaints online. If you sink to their level and let yourself get into an argument online for the world to see, it will only end up hurting your reputation. Instead, invite the customer to call or email you directly to resolve the matter.
Managing Negative Reviews isn’t Always Easy, But It’s Essential
Even the best businesses get bad reviews from time to time, and it’s how you deal with those bad reviews that truly defines who you are to your customers. Staying in the know about your online reputation is a key part of any business’s success in the digital age, and with Top Rated Local, you’ll be able to do so from one place.
Top Rated Local is a system designed to pull legitimate verified reviews from trustworthy sources into one place. This gives businesses the peace of mind in knowing that they won’t have to worry about having their reputation trashed by a competitor or an unhappy ex-employee, and gives consumers a real, unbiased look at the quality of service offered by local businesses in their area.
Joining Top Rated Local is one of the best ways to get your business noticed and start ranking for “near me” searches in your area. Don’t wait, join today!