How To Deal With Negative Online Reviews

If you’re a small business owner or an employee, it is particularly frustrating to deal with bad, bitter online reviews. Obviously, no one likes to get negative reviews, and if you go through one, you might instinctively take it as an insult on yourself. Reading it might make you sad and angry, which is completely normal. However, getting angry and taking the review personally is definitely not the right way to deal with such bitter reviews. The first thing you must realize is that the customer is unhappy with the service; hence he has put up an online review detailing his bad experience for everyone to see. So what can be done?

We will give you a few ways through which not only will be able to deal with a negative review online, but might also be able to cause a change of heart of the dissatisfied customer and cause him to change his review from a negative to a positive one.

Remain calm and composed

The first important thing is to keep a level head. Whenever you see a negative review online, you must remain calm, take a deep breath and try to focus as to why the customer has given such a review. Hastily responding to the angry customer might make matters worse; rather take a step back and think as to what can be done to deal with the situation.

While writing a response to a person’s bad review, it is important to have a collection of “pre-set” responses with you. These would be a general way of dealing with online criticism and will cover most of the varieties of bad reviews to deal with. However, they are only a starting point, and not the end-all of dealing with negative reviews.

Using the same pre-set responses, again and again, isn’t particularly helpful; however, they can act as building blocks to a proper response. What is needed is to modify these pre-set responses as per the negative review, detailing how your company actually offers a better experience than the one in the review.

Responding to the Review

Ignoring a bad review is almost always a bad idea. It only goes to show that you really don’t care about how the customers’ experience has been. Replying to a customer’s negative review properly would help you and your business in the long run.

A customer who had a bitter experience often wants to leave a negative review simply because he wants his experience to be acknowledged. By responding to a negative review, you could show that you acknowledge their problems and are willing to address them. This alone is most of the times enough to please them, and they are more likely to avail your goods and services again in the future. All you need to make sure is that the customer thinks that he is loved and treated well.

Another benefit of replying to bad reviews is that it separates you from the rest. Since most companies ignore reviews, you could make yourself stand out by appropriately replying to negative reviews and making sure that the customers remember that you care about them.

Fixing the problem

Resolving the issue is as important as responding to it. In certain cases, you may want to contact the customer and ask him or her to visit your business location so that you could talk about the problem to him. By showing that you are proactive in handling the issue, you could win the customer’s affection. Along with this, you might even attract more customers through word of mouth.

Getting an impartial opinion

While responding to reviews, it is important to get a second opinion. By letting an impartial person read the review and your reply, you could ensure that the response you are about to post is alright. This is especially helpful to avoid PR pitfalls.

Positive side of bad reviews

Many people tend to forget what reviews are for – to show what you may be doing wrong, and so, there are numerous positives sides of a bad review. Examine the review and see what the issue is about. It could have been a rude member of your staff, or bad service, etc. It might point to a real problem in your customer service, and by fixing it, you will improve your future customers’ experience.

Remember, reviews are in Public forums

You may think, why the customer wrote a bad review instead of contacting you about the issue. The truth is most people think that it takes too long get in touch with a service rep on the line. It can be a reason why people tend to leave bad reviews on public forums. While responding to such reviews, you must keep in mind that whatever you write is out there for the world to see. That is why it’s really important to take this conversation out of the public forum. This can be done easily by acknowledging the customer’s problem and asking him or her to contact you personally to have the issue resolved. Even if the customer doesn’t call you, others will still see that at least you made an effort to resolve the issue by getting in touch.

Rather than this if you choose to pick an ugly fight online with the dissatisfied customer, it’s only going to hurt your business. Arguing with the customer and responding to the same review, again and again, are practices which must be avoided.

Turning Negatives into Positives

Lastly, if you have worked with the customer and successfully resolved the issue, make sure to gently ask the customer to change or edit the review into a positive one. This will make sure that others could see that you are willing to actively work with the customers and fix any problems the customers may be having.

How to get more positive reviews

Now that we have covered everything about dealing with negative reviews let us not forget about positive ones. Having large numbers of positive reviews would help downplay the negative ones, and increase your overall “Star-rating”. To make sure that you get plenty of positive reviews, you must first make it easier for customers to leave reviews. Secondly, you must encourage (sometimes through a gentle reminder) your customers to leave reviews.

Monitoring reviews are equally important. You must get on different review websites and see what your customers are writing. You can also use review monitoring tools to help keep an eye on what reviews the customers are writing. This will make it easier to identify negative reviews and to deal with them.

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