negative review

How to deal with a negative review online

negative review

Even well-run, successful businesses get the odd negative review. But if you’re a small business, negative online reviews can have an outsized impact.

Online review sites are increasingly important drivers of new leads and customer inquiries, so even if feedback is inaccurate, unfair, or a customer overreacting to a small issue, it can be enough to damage your reputation.

Fortunately, you can lessen the impact of a negative review by responding to it well. Here are five steps to resolve a bad review – without making yourself look worse.

1: Stay calm

We have all seen those cases in the media where a business owner responds to customer complaints with aggression and rudeness – it’s not a good look. Even if a nasty review makes you angry, waiting until you feel calmer will help you respond professionally. Try to empathise with the customer and understand where they’re coming from, even if you think they’re in the wrong.

2: Respond, remove, or ignore?

If the review is needlessly aggressive, full of personal attacks or swear words, or completely irrational, it may not be worth responding to it at all. Some review sites will remove such reviews for breaking site rules and guidelines, so get in touch and see if this is an option.

3: Fact finding

Make sure you know exactly what happened before you respond. That means reading the review thoroughly, talking to the staff members involved, and going through any relevant receipts, emails, or security camera footage.

4: Reply in private

Your first response should be private, if possible. Many review sites will let you private message other members if you have an account with them. If you can’t do this, comment on the post and politely request that they get in touch so you can resolve their issue.

When you talk to or email the customer, ask them to clarify what happened, apologise profusely, explain what went wrong on your end, and ask what you can do to help. Depending on what happened, you may want to offer them a refund, a voucher, an apology from the staff member involved, or simply explain that you have updated your policy and that it won’t happen again.

5: Respond in public

It’s a good idea to follow up your private response with a public comment. Outline what happened, apologise again, and briefly explain what you have done to resolve the issue. Doing this shows that your business cares about its customers and takes complaints seriously.

Live and learn

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to resolve the issue or get the review removed. In those cases, the only thing you can really do is learn from your mistake by updating procedures or improving staff training, and then move on. Eventually, as you continue to provide great customer service, the negative review will be overshadowed by positive ones.

Need help to unlock your business potential and grow your family business. Call Giles Ellis now from GECA  on 0800 758 766  to increase profits, improve cashflow and grow your wealth.