5 Steps to Handling a Negative Online Review

5 Steps to Handling a Negative Online Review

Dealing with a negative online review? As a business owner, it’s hard to read them because your company is like your baby. You reared it from the start to where it stands now. But like any other problems you face, you will handle the negative online review meticulously because any issue regarding your business is a serious one. The way you respond to a negative review can affect your sales and web traffic. When handled properly, however, the way you respond to it can boost your business to a whole new level.

In our digitally advanced world, consumers mostly depend on online reviews. They go on Yelp to read reviews on restaurants, salons, or home services. Before downloading another photo editing or ride-sharing app, consumers read mobile app user reviews. The thing is, online and mobile app user reviews work! It’s been said that for every five positive reviews on Yelp boost a business' visibility by 10%. 

So how you handle your negative reviews can and will impact your social media, sales, and web and foot traffic. Read these simple tips to help you address the worst, the angriest reviews you’ll read about you, your staff, your business, or your service.

1.     Reply to a negative review as soon as you see it. Sitting around and thinking about the negative review won’t do your business any good. Act on it right away. When responding to a negative review, always remember to breathe and never write in retaliation. Choose your words carefully and show kindness and compassion. When it comes to building a customer relationship, it is important to train your team on how to provide a better customer experience.

There are also several reputation management software that small businesses can use to monitor and manage your online reviews. Salesforce, Zoho, and HubSpot CRM are some tools small businesses can invest on. These help entrepreneurs focus more on other important parts of the business.

2.     Show empathy. We're all humans, and we all slip up once in a while. When writing an apology, show empathy to your dissatisfied consumer. They need to feel and see that they are talking to real people. Apologize for the inconvenience and fix the issue. Couple your empathy with action.

Aside from fixing the problem, add a touch of sincere gratitude by sending a small gift as a token of appreciation. This gives a human touch to addressing a consumer’s dissatisfaction.

3.     Ask the customer to discuss their concerns privately. It’s best to talk by phone or in person when it comes to resolving issues. Text messages or emails are good but can easily be misinterpreted and may experience a lag time when it comes to providing immediate solutions.

4.     Fix it! Once you’ve responded to the negative online review, it’s time to fix the problem. Always remember that actions speak louder than words. It’s one thing to be more human when responding to a negative online review. On the other hand, fixing the issue immediately builds trust. It creates a positive reputation for your company.

When your consumers know you don't take their issues for granted, they would not feel the need to write a bad or negative review. They instantly know that all they need to do is give your business a call and report an issue, and the problem will be fixed.

5.     Contact the customer once the issue is resolved. Be hands-on when it comes to your business’ online reputation. Ask if they would be willing to update their original review. Typically, customers respond positively to a simple request as amending a negative review, especially if they see that you took the time to fix the problem.

If the unsatisfied customer is still unhappy, move on. We cannot please everyone. In a sea of five stars and positive reviews, your not-so-good review can be seen in an optimistic way. Having all rave reviews can be a tad doubtful. Some potential customers may smell something fishy about the way business is handled. A negative online review here and there would show your business is real.

Learning to address negative online reviews is one of the best ways to improve your business. Doing your best to satisfy your consumers’ needs and making sure their opinions are valued will cultivate a sense of trust. Future customers will feel assured that you will provide the highest, best-quality service when they decide to do business with you.

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