No business owner or marketing manager ever wants to see a negative review of their business. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts to prevent them, negative reviews are just a part of doing business in the modern digital world. That’s not to say you can’t keep them to a minimum with exceptional customer service, great shopping experiences and high-quality products and services, but some are bound to sneak through.

The key is to accept that they are a reality of doing business and react in a way that paints your business in a positive light moving forward.

Google’s Position

It’s not uncommon for some businesses to just ignore negative reviews, but that’s not the best way to handle the situation. When you take a look at the Google My Business support page, you’ll discover their position on this subject. Google says that every business should “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.

It’s also important to note that Google is the company that is responsible for your search rankings, so if they see that you handle all customer reviews in a positive and professional manner, it can only help your local SEO efforts. One statistic shows that after posting a negative review, 33% of customers gave a positive review if the company responded to them and 34% deleted the original negative review.

Here are some tips on how to respond to negative online reviews:

Apologize and Say Thank You

Regardless of the nature of the review, it’s always a good idea to start off by apologizing and thanking them for their input. Whether they’ve had an issue with a staff member, didn’t like the product or service, had an issue with billing or any number of other things, saying sorry will help them to relax a little right from the start. It will help to diffuse the situation, and saying thank you gives the impression that you are happy to receive honest feedback, even when it isn’t positive.

Resolve the Issue

Responses are great, but if you leave the issue unresolved, it won’t help your reputation or image at all. Different issues require different types of responses and resolutions, but chances are, you’ll be able to resolve the issue to the customer’s satisfaction if that is your goal. Creating the perception that you truly want to make it right will help create trust with current and potential customers.

Remember You’re In Public

Above all else, remember that online reviews can be read by everyone, so keep your language in check and carry yourself professionally throughout the interaction. The last thing you want is to get into a heated debate and say something you’ll regret later.

Keep It Short

Your responses to negative online reviews don’t need to drag on and become overly elaborate. Say what needs to be said and then stop.

Consider a Second Opinion Before You Post

Even if you are taking the time to craft a professional and effective response, it might be wise to get a second opinion before you hit the post button. If you go this route, ask someone who is impartial and will give you an honest opinion about the nature of your response.

Guide the Interaction Offline If Necessary

There’s only so much you can or should go into online in front of everyone. If you feel the person that left the review is just seeking attention or complaining for the sake of complaining, offer to take it offline and have them call you to resolve the problem. Even if they don’t people will see you are willing to find a solution when things don’t go right.

Take the Criticism Constructively

While you are responding and resolving the negative review, look into it a little deeper to determine if there are things you can modify or change to create a better experience for your customers. This is especially true if you notice trends or patterns in the negative responses you get. If there is insight to be had, don’t let it pass you by.

Negative Online Reviews

Some Negative Review Response Don’ts

When creating a list of things you should do to respond to negative online reviews, it makes sense to do a list of things you shouldn’t do to balance things out. Here are some of the top don’ts:

  • Don’t get insulted or offended
  • Don’t get defensive about your position
  • Don’t use colorful language
  • Don’t insult the other person in any way
  • Don’t get into an argument
  • Don’t make it seem like the other person has the problem

If you have questions about where your business stands, we encourage you to reach out today.

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