Today, we’re going to talk about how to deal with negative online reviews.
When you do business online, it is inevitable that you will receive a negative review at some point in time. Some negative reviews may be founded while many others are unfounded. So, what do you do if you get a negative review online?
It depends! Yes, it depends on a number of factors. You will have to determine how to proceed after reviewing the review.
Monitor Yourself And Your Brand Online
You want to ensure you see all reviews, both good and bad. It just makes good sense to respond to positive reviews, but finding negative reviews is ever important. Many negative reviews slip through the cracks because entrepreneurs and businesses are not monitoring their online presence.
Naturally, you want to monitor the major social networks as well as Yelp, Google, Facebook and more. But how can you efficiently do so?
You do want to deal with negative reviews as quickly as possible.
Determine If You Should Respond
So, you just found a negative review and you are ready to battle. Wait! Impulsive responses can actually damage your reputation more than the review itself.
There are some people who have nothing better to do than try to damage a person’s or a brand’s reputation. You need to look at the “whole picture.”
Take a look at this person’s other reviews. Are they a whiner who is negative about everything? Does the review look like it was written by someone with the intelligence of a rock?
My Dad used to tell me “Pick your battles wisely son.”
Use Dad’s advice here… Some negative reviews are not even worth paying attention to. The person has already shown they are not factual with reviews and for the most part, others will take that review as a “grain of salt.”
And, for those who take that review to heart, would you even want to do business with them? They very well could be similar to the reviewer.
Now, going right along with Dad’s advice, you also must have various battle strategies.
If an online review is slanderous, from a competitor or can be proven to be an unfounded attack, there are ways to get it removed. It does depend on where it is.
But reviews on places like:
- Google places
- Other social media
can be removed if you can show any misleading or unfounded statements. You just need to contact the administration with your defense.
Do know that many reviewers break site rules. You can use this to your advantage. Some rules may include:
- all caps
- privacy concerns
You should read the site rules to see if the reviewer is breaking any of them.
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The True Negative Review
We are human! We all make mistakes!
As entrepreneurs, we carry a heavier responsibility. You see, sometimes a business mistake may have come from an area you had no actual control over:
- A vendor
- A manufacturing arm
- A freelance agent
- Or a disgruntled employee
So the review comes and your immediate thought is to put the blame on the other area.
Wait! The fault is yours! Own It!
The best method is to immediately respond with a comment similar to:
As the CEO of ____, I want first to offer my utmost apology for the issue you are having. At __ we are committed 1,000% to customer satisfaction. I ask that you please call (name) at (toll-free #). I have given our Senior Executive in Customer Care all the information and he/she will be able to ensure your satisfaction. Thank you for bringing this potential issue to our attention.
Timely and Proper
Consumers know that “stuff happens.”
I have gained huge respect for some businesses after I have had an issue, and I have lost respect for other businesses after I have had an issue.
Consumers just want an apology and the problem solved. Be it a refund, replacement or simple fix, just treat the person with respect and dignity.
By responding in a similar fashion to the example above, you:
- Show other potential consumers you are human but you care. How do they not have respect for you?
- You respond in a timely fashion and are willing to go to all means to gain customer satisfaction.
In a large percentage of these circumstances, the reviewer will remove the negative review or they will comment telling the world how well you “fixed” the issue.
Learn And Change
Okay, you had the negative review and you managed to satisfy the customer and get the review removed. Do you just go on with business as usual?
No! Now is the time to make the needed changes to ensure this issue does not arise again. You must determine where the problem is originating from and make the changes to fix it. They could be just small changes or major ones.
But do not allow it to sit because if you get another negative review with the same issue, it could damage your business terribly.
While Greg, my friend and contributor on this blog wrote this article about “How to Deal with Negative Reviews Online” I feel obligated to add in my own two cents.
As a consumer, you need to take online negative reviews with a grain of salt. You must realize the internet is not regulated, monitored or controlled by any agency. Anyone with any agenda, even under a false identity, can write a negative review about anyone or any company they desire to. You have no idea if this person is a competitor across the street from the business they are reviewing, a disgruntled employee or someone hired to slander another company or business.
If you really want to know where a product or company stands, you have two better options. First off, get the opinion of someone you know and trust. They’ll tell you their experience. Even better, try it out for yourself and form your own opinion.
I’d also tell you that if a person or company writes negative reviews about you, and they slander you, or make unjustified claims, hire a lawyer. Yes, it costs money. But negative reviews can cost your business a lot of money. I’m not “sue crazy’ but I would gladly sue someone who slandered me or wrote an unjustified claim about me online.
Finally, when evaluating companies, products and businesses online, look for trends. Don’t let one negative or one positive review determine your decision. Look at all of the reviews and look for common themes. The numbers rarely lie. If lots of people are addressing the same issues, there probably is an issue. If lots of people are addressing specific good things about it, they’re probably on to something.
Just my two cents.
Tips from the Experts
Just to give this article some added perspective, here are some tips from the experts about how to deal with negative reviews online.
Depending on the problem, rather than respond to an adverse review by leaving a public comment, it may be better to reply privately via email or phone. For example, Yelp gives business page owners the opportunity to do so via email. If you resolve the matter to the customer’s satisfaction, leave a brief comment in the public timeline. ~ Source: Practical Ecommerce
Here’s a great tip on how to prevent negative reviews.
It’s better for everyone if your customers leave your business happy the first time around.
Find out what kind of experience your customers are having by asking them directly at the end of your interaction. Follow up with questions like “Is there anything we can do to improve your experience today?” Still, some customers will leave dissatisfied, but you can catch them and address their concerns before they post negative reviews, using an automated system like ReputationStacker.
By sending a single survey question to recent customers, ReputationStacker separates the happy customers from the unhappy ones, directing happy customers to write positive reviews and directing unhappy ones back to you so you can address their issues before they write a negative review… and turn them into happy customers. ~ Source: Reputation Stacker
And finally, make sure you always respond to EVERY review.
Good or bad, you should be responding to every review left for your business. Remember that the impact goes far beyond how that particular customer feels about you (although this is certainly important too).
While only a handful of customers might leave reviews, dozens or even hundreds are scrolling through the reviews. Not responding to negative reviews sends 2 possible messages:
No matter what, always respond. Make sure your voice is heard as an active advocate, not only for your customers but for your business as well. ~ Source: Inc.com
Deal With Negative Online Reviews Summary
Before I finish up today’s post, I want to highlight some key points when dealing with negative online reviews:
- Determine if the review is worthy of response.
- Look at all rules of the review site to see if they have grounds to be removed.
- Acknowledge and apologize to the customer.
- Take the problem offline and go to full extent to solve the problem.
- Be professional at all times.
- Thank the reviewer for pointing out the issue.
- Learn, change and grow.
Remember, negative online reviews are not the end of the world. They can actually be a blessing by helping you discover ways to make changes that make your business stronger. By following the tips I gave you in today’s post, you will be able to properly manage your company’s online reviews.
Hey, do you have any negative review stories? Share them in the comment area below. If we all share, we can help each other grow. Thanks for reading my post about how to deal with negative reviews online. If you enjoyed the article, please share it with your friends. Have a great day!