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8 Tips for Handling Negative Online Reviews

Contrary to the popular saying, there is such a thing as bad press. In the digital age, your business’s online reputation has a large impact on a company’s bottom line. All companies must engage with online customer reviews – whether good or bad.

Here are 8 tips for handling negative customer reviews online to make sure that current, past, or potential customers received the best possible experience from your brand.

1. Respond Promptly

Often negative reviews are posted online when a customer is still frustrated or upset with their experience. If these emotions are left unchecked, there is a good chance that their negative emotions may begin to spill into online spaces that you do not have any control or knowledge of. If you respond in a timely manner, you have a better chance to smooth over frustrated emotions and make things right.

2. When they go low, you go high.

The kneejerk reaction to negative feedback and complaints is to get defensive. This is you business and your passion, after all. But, you do not want to engage on a level that will be seen by potential customers when they are vetting your business online. Businesses have more to lose when they don’t act professionally and don’t rectify a negative situation by satisfying a displeased customer.

3. Customize Responses

DO NOT create a standard response to online customer reviews. Not even when it comes to responding to positive feedback. Customers are savvy and will catch on quickly if you are doing this. People want to be heard and seen as individuals. There’s no better way to do that than with a custom response showing empathy and compassion.

4. Stay Professional

Be thoughtful and give a unique response, but don’t get personal and certainly don’t ever attack or retaliate. You may know exactly which customer left the review and know they were not completely – or even slightly – acting correctly. Never-the-less, you will want to handle the complaint in a professional manner.

5. Three Parts of a Thoughtful Response:

All responses to negative reviews should include three things: an acknowledgment, an apology, and a solution.

  • Acknowledgement: The best way to disarm an angry customer is to begin with acknowledging the benefit of receiving feedback. This can be as simple as thanking them for the feedback. Express gratitude that someone took the time to give you criticism, even when it’s harsh, and appreciate the fact that they are still offering you the chance to make it right.
  • Apologize: Whether or not you agree with the reason they are upset, they are. Offer an apology that their experience was negative.
  • Offer a Solution: Depending on the type of complaint, you can offer a coupon or discount for your services. Or you can assure them that you will look into the problem they experienced and promise to improve on your services. Take the extra step to show that you’re not only sorry, but that you want to make it right and earn the person’s trust.

Most negative reviewers – and customers in general – prefer an honest response to a genuine mistake with the understanding that their complaint is addressed in a fair and heartfelt manner.

6. Follow-up

Don’t just assume that once you respond to a negative reviewer that you have fixed the issue. You will want to build into your internal process a reminder to follow up with the negative reviewer. Let them know the actions you took to remedy the issues they experienced and continue to thank them for taking the time to provide feedback. You can even ask if they would be willing to delete their negative review.

7. Ask Customers for Online Reviews

The best way to ensure happy customers are leaving positive reviews is to recommend customers leave reviews. At Webster Digital Marketing, we provide a Review Building service where we assist our clients in obtaining authentic customer reviews and get a chance to communicate with unhappy customers before they leave a bad review. The best part is we can manage it for you! We make the set up easy and take care of any overhead.

8. Monitor Your Online Reputation

Monitoring your online presence is the one sure way to stay on top of all reviews consistently. At Webster Digital Marketing, this is another part of our Review Building service.

Webster Digital Marketing Can Assist You in Monitoring Your Online Reviews

Webster Digital Marketing can assist you in monitoring your online reviews and preparing responses to negative reviews.Contact us today to learn more.