Negative reviews about your business can be hard to deal with whether they are online or not. But, online reviews carry a different weight. More people have access to them, they are more easily shared and they can quickly damage your reputation. So what should you do if you get a negative online review?
Never Respond Negatively
Responding negatively or getting into an online debate with a reviewer only makes your business look bad. It shows people you can’t handle feedback and that you don’t really care what your customers think.
On the other hand, when you respond professionally, no matter how negative the reviewer is you can turn a situation that could be bad for your business into something good. Remember that the way you respond to online reviews says a lot about your business.
Listen and Respond
First, don’t just ignore online reviews, even when they are negative. Listen to what your customers are saying and make changes if possible. If you can, reach out to the unhappy customer and try to answer questions or meet his needs.
Depending on the forum, you may want to leave a public response so others can see that you care what your customers think and add your voice to the conversation. When your customers see that you are listening to feedback and take constructive criticism to heart, they will be more impressed with your business.
Know when to go Offline
In some cases, it may not be appropriate to address negative reviews online. Neither you nor your customer wants all the details of a tough situation displayed on your Facebook page for everyone to read. Of course, you also don’t have the time to respond to every single online review.
If you can more effectively address a customer’s problem or need more information, leave an online response telling the customer how to get in touch with you so the problem can be resolved.
This simple response helps you serve your customers, show your online audience you are listening and avoid more negative online content.
Play by the Rules
Never use fake positive reviews to combat negative ones. Many review sites have strict rules against this and in the end you will only hurt yourself. Instead, embrace online reviews as a chance to learn what your customers are looking for and find ways to improve your online reputation.
Good reviews are obviously beneficial, but even negative reviews can help you if you handle them the right way. Respond professionally and listen to what people are saying. In some cases, you may notice a common theme across several reviews, which can help you identify areas where you need to improve.
You can also use online reviews as an online marketing tool by responding positively and encouraging customers to leave comments on your website, social media pages or even major review sites.
Positive online reviews can help you build a reputation and attract more customers while your professional and strategic responses to negative reviews can help you show your customers you are listening to their feedback and are willing to make changes to meet their needs.