How to deal with negative business reviews

angry woman

Feedback and criticism should always be viewed as an organic component of the growth of your business. As a business owner, negative feedback is something you’ll have to learn to process without letting yourself take a customer’s words personally.

What exactly is being said and where is it being said?

Effectively managing negative reviews requires you to fully understand exactly what’s being said and where it has been posted. Monitoring your social media mentions and setting up Google Alerts will help you to keep on top of the conversation surrounding your brand. You should also aim to maintain a presence on the most popular online review sites relevant to your industry, such as TripAdvisor and Yelp.

It’s imperative not to let a negative review sit anywhere online for several days without knowing it’s there because you won’t be able to properly address the issue and it might deter potential customers from engaging with your brand.

Don’t fight fire with fire

It is often impossible to predict what your initial reaction to a negative review might be, but regardless of whether you feel upset or irritated, it is important to step back from the situation before reaching out and issuing a response. You should never respond with anger or negativity, so be sure to clearly address the situation in a calm and helpful manner.

Utilise the collective power of your loyal audience

Meticulously countering every single point with your own interpretation of the issue is never a good idea. Not only is it a poor use of your time, it’s only going to make you look petty or incompetent. By all means, point out any mistakes or misunderstandings, but also try to provide an effective and actionable solution, if possible. Maintaining a positive and helpful demeanour will often encourage your loyal customers to jump to your defence and perhaps even provide the original reviewer with some additional tips to get the most out of your products or services.

Issue a meaningful apology

You might be surprised at just how far a simple apology will go. Even if your customer has perhaps misinterpreted something, staying humble and openly apologising will always put your business in the best light. If you have made a mistake, remember that most people are willing to give second chances to businesses who are upfront about their errors and who take active steps to make the situation better for all involved.

Actively address the situation

While it might be tempting to spend time writing and issuing long explanations, keeping it short and sweet is always advisable. Demonstrate that you’re keen to understand how you could have done things differently and clearly communicate that you take all feedback into consideration when reviewing all aspects of your business. Additionally, it is always worth reaching out privately to your dissatisfied customer to provide a further apology, perhaps including the offer of a replacement product or discount code.

Understanding the true value of online reviews

You can learn a lot from even the most negative reviews. As well as being a source of often very helpful feedback, they can also help you to demonstrate that you genuinely value your customers, that you aren’t afraid to engage with negative reviews, and that you want to consistently make improvements that will benefit everyone.

Our Reputation Management Service Netreview can help you deal with negative reviews and help you to obtain more positive reviews and turn reviews into more business. To find out more see
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