Bad reviews are a reality for any good business. It doesn’t matter if your customer service chops are polished or if your user experience is streamlined: sometimes, people just don’t like you.
The good news is that there are plenty of excellent (and not-so-excellent) ways to deal with negative reviews of your business. Here’s our outline some of the best tips from our reputation management experts on how to handle negative reviews and always come out on top.
1. Monitor Your Presence
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but you absolutely must monitor your business’ online presence. Your digital presence includes your website, social media, and any 3rd-party mentions of your business on review websites or other places on the web.
There are a plethora of tools out there to monitor your social media and reviews (for example, Social Mention is a great free tool!). You should also set up Google Alerts to let you know when your business’ is getting press (good or bad!).
2. Negative Reviews Happen
Bad reviews happen to the best of us, so don’t beat yourself up too much when you get a few! Understanding how to deal with those reviews is the key to a successful reputation management strategy.
First of all, do not ignore negative reviews of your business. A negative review means that someone somewhere felt that you fell short of their expectations of your business. Take bad reviews seriously and look at them as (hopefully constructive) criticism.
If you’re getting a slew of negative reviews, you should take a deep breath and accept that maybe something might be wrong on your end. Are there common themes resonating throughout all of the negative reviews of your business? That could be indicative of a systemic issue! Be patient and resolve the issue in a timely manner.
One other great way to look at negative reviews is that they can give your business a bit more credibility. Any time a business only has 5/5 reviews, it looks a bit suspicious. Did they solicit all of those positive reviews? Did they screen for or remove any negative reviews? Pretty much every business is going to have a handful of negative reviews!
3. Encourage Positivity
A great way to look at a negative review is as an opportunity. This is your chance to make your business shine through courteously and promptly addressing the reviewer’s issues.
Remember that you should never ask them to change their review, just do everything you can to make sure that they know that you take their complaints seriously (and that you’ll do whatever it takes to fix it!).
What you can do (although the policies regarding this vary from review site to review site) is gently ask your customers to leave you a review. The key here is not to be forceful or say something like “make sure to leave us a good review.” Sometimes just letting a happy customer know that you’re on Yelp (or another review platform) is a great way to softly nudge them to leave positive feedback.
Nobody likes to receive negative reviews, but everyone gets them sometimes! Make sure to take those criticisms in stride and use reputation management best practices to keep your business looking good on the web!