How To Respond To Negative Online Reviews

There is something of a crisis of confidence happening in the world of online reviews recently. While research has shown that online reviews are vital to the success of many businesses, there has also been a lot of controversy surrounding fake reviews. 

If you run a business, either online or physically, you should be actively seeking positive reviews on sites like Google, Trip Advisor, and Facebook. But what happens when you get a negative review? How should you react and more importantly, how should you not react? 
Read on for some tips on dealing with the situation. 

Consider the merits of the complaint

Before you do anything else, ask yourself if the bad review is justified. Building your company’s social proof is very important for your online presence. Try and look at it objectively rather than with hurt feelings. Depending on what conclusion you come to, there are different ways to deal with a negative review. 

Don’t overreact

Even if the review is less than pleasant, don’t react with a deluge of abuse of your own. It looks wildly unprofessional. You might be spurred on by those posts you see online which show business owners winning a verbal joust with reviewers, but unless you have an Oscar Wilde style wit, don’t get involved. 

Always acknowledge a negative review

It’s good practice to acknowledge all reviews, whether they are good or bad. If you do receive a negative review, say that you are sorry they had a bad experience, that it isn’t indicative of your usual standards, and ask them to contact you directly to help resolve the situation. 

Own up to mistakes

If the negative review is factually correct, then don’t be tempted to lie your way out of it. Simply state any extenuating circumstances and offer to put the situation right. 

Tackle inaccurate reviews with facts

Occasionally, someone will get things wrong. Sometimes this is accidental and sometimes it is malicious. If you know the information on the review is not correct, be sure to mention the actual facts in your response. Again, keep it professional while still defending yourself. If you believe that the review is false or perhaps a competitor, then you should report it to the relevant review platform to have it removed. 

Don’t get into an argument

The internet is filled with arguments, don’t add to it by being confrontational. 

Try and take the complaint off-platform

While it’s always good to respond to people on the review platforms, you don’t want to be conducting all of your communications on there. Instead, offer the reviewer a way to get in touch with you to discuss the matter. Give them a phone number or email address. 

Final thoughts 

All companies get a bad review from time to time. In fact, if every single one of your reviews is flawless, people will probably assume that they are fake. It’s how you deal with them that is the important thing. If the reviews are pointing to an issue within your business then this is something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. 
When faced with a negative review, respond quickly, professionally, apologize if necessary and take it off-platform if your can. 

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