If you own a business, one way or another expect online reviews for your business. We all work hard to deliver good business and please our customers. What’s unfortunate is that no matter how well you handle your business, some of those reviews are going to be negative.
If you don’t know how to respond or react, things can get ugly in a hurry. If you’re not sure how to handle online negative online reviews, the following tips should help.
1. Determine If a Response Is Required
When you see a negative online review, your first impulse is to let the world know why the reviewer is wrong. But that’s not always the best idea. Responding in the heat of the moment can often lead to bigger headaches down the line. Instead, take a moment to breathe and think it over. Does your critic have a legitimate complaint, or are they just another online bully?
If the client’s concerns are genuine, by all means, respond. Take responsibility for your part in the problem, offer a sincere apology and try to start the healing process. By correcting the situation, you not only earn the respect of the reviewer, but you also show future prospects, who will read the review later, that you care about your customers.
Try to make the save if possible, but always use your best judgment. Sometimes it’s better to take these conversations offline. The last thing you want to do is get into a virtual shouting match with an online bully. Rest assured; most consumers can tell the difference between a legitimate reviewer and an online bully trolling for attention. Let that not bother you much.
2. Do Your Research
Depending on your business and the amount of information provided by the reviewer, you may be able to research the exact transaction before responding. If possible, search your records and speak with your colleagues about what occurred before crafting a response to the online review. This will allow you to address specifics, and make informed decisions.
3. Decide How to Respond
You really have two options — respond directly to the review online, or try to take a more personal offline approach. Both options have their pros and cons.
Public responses put your customer service skills on display. The idea here isn’t to win an argument but, rather, to rectify a bad situation, change the reviewer’s perception and further build your online reputation. Of course, if you’re dealing with an online bully, a public response can further aggravate the situation, prompting more ranting and raving
Private responses (via direct message on the review site, email or phone call) don’t get the attention of public responses, but they’re more personal and give you a chance to connect with the customer in a way public responses don’t.
4. Respond As Soon As Possible
Be thoughtful and do your research, but remember: Negative online reviews should be handled quickly. Whether you’re dealing with an online bully or just a disappointed customer who has let his anger get the best of him, you don’t want to leave them as that can aggravate things. It’s best to confront the issue early, otherwise the ranting and raving may continue or even go viral, which can wreak havoc on your reputation online.
5. Follow up
Make sure to follow up after the fact to ensure the customer is happy with the resolution of their issue. Don’t forget to ask them to update their review to reflect the new status of the situation. That way, future readers will see that the issue was taken care of and the customer is now satisfied. They will remember a positive ‘shopping’ experience instead of the negative one.
6. Learn From The Negative Reviews
Is there anything you can learn about your products or service from the negative feedback? Stop bad business reviews at the source by addressing any core issues. This could be as simple as refining the content on your product pages or as drastic as discontinuing a product.
So negative reviews are not that bad that’s not saying they are good either. Agreed, they can be ugly and damaging. But if handled correctly they can help your business. Now you have the tools.