How to handle those dreaded bad reviews

We’ve written about the importance of online reviews before, but today we wanted to take it a step further. Digital word of mouth plays an important role in gaining trust from customers before they even step foot in your business, but what should you do when a reviewer goes negative?

A bad review can sting, but it’s helpful to remember that the review was likely written out of frustration. Rather than perceiving it as a personal insult or responding in outrage, it is best to stay calm. That being said, reviews should not be ignored (even if they are exaggerated truths or false). Think about what the customer had to say. What is in your control to improve their unsatisfactory experience?

The best way to prevent negative reviews from damaging your ratings is to be responsive. Based on recent studies, businesses experience a 37% decline in customer advocacy by simply not responding to bad reviews. Even if the reviewer does not respond, other potential customers will notice that you are listening and want to help. 

Here are a few other steps you can take to optimize your responses.

  • Be empathetic. It is probably tempting to exhibit sarcasm or annoyance in your reply. Don’t do it. If you want to maintain professionalism, it is best to be kind. Show the reviewer that you care about them and you value their feedback. You may be surprised to discover how far a courteous response can take you.
  • Demonstrate transparency. Honesty really is the best policy in this case. If you made a mistake, take responsibility for it. Reviewers would rather you own up to the issue than dismiss their experience through denial. Plus, other people reading the reviews will gain trust in you if they see your integrity on display.
  • Explain yourself. Being honest will show some humanity to your business so it’s okay to describe what went wrong on your end. Be careful! This is not an opportunity to make an excuse. Make sure it’s evident that your motive is to provide clarity.
  • Solve the problem. Pay attention to what exactly the reviewer wants and try to make things right by resolving that issue. This may require you to request direct contact with the customer to fully understand their needs. Fixing the issue is the best chance you have at mending the situation and regaining trust.

Your online reputation is important, but it takes work to build and maintain it. Keep an eye out for the reviews your business receives on Google and Facebook and be ready to conquer your fear of bad reviews using these tips.

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