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Protect Your Business: 5 Tips for Dealing With Negative Online Reviews

If you are like most consumers, you read online reviews before purchasing a product or service. Because of this, the importance of ratings on your Google My Business listing, your Yelp page or Facebook Business page cannot be overstated. These reviews and ratings are used by potential customers to search for and choose local businesses. In fact, a pattern of negative online reviews may keep some from even considering your small business at all. Because of this, it’s important not to ignore negative online comments

Unfortunately, negative reviews are sometimes a part of the life of a small business owner. Although receiving a bad review may sting, as the owner of your own company it is important to know how to respond when negative feedback arises. This post will detail 5 tips for responding in the best way possible.

Take Time to Cool Off

Do not immediately respond. Responding quickly and impulsively to negative feedback can be more harmful than helpful, especially if you make a mistake in your response. Instead of immediately replying, wait at least 24 hours before responding. This will give you time to gather information and consider ways to resolve the issue in a way that is fair to everyone. Take the time to carefully draft your response, and even have someone else read it, before posting it online.

Try to Use Positive Language When Responding to Negative Online Reviews

Avoid negative language. It’s helpful to remember that the person writing the review is probably very angry about their experience with your business and negative words will only turn people away from you. Instead, use words that show your desire to de-escalate the situation and make things right and a willingness to correct any mistakes made by yourself or your employees

Stay Business-Focused

Keep the conversation professional. It may seem easy for an upset customer to start an argument with your negative review, but it is important that you keep the conversation professional. You are not there to argue or compete with them; instead, have a civil discussion about why they were unhappy and what can be done in the future. Being overly argumentative or attacking them personally will not only feed into their anger, but also leave others with a bad impression of you and your business.

Thank Negative Reviewers By Actually Saying “Thank You” in the Response

Thank them for reaching out. This may seem trivial, but thanking negative reviewers for their feedback is actually a very helpful way to begin to defuse the situation and begin the process of turning negative comments into positive ones.

You can be sincere in thanking them, as their review has brought to light a communication issue, a process breakdown or a staff training issue that could continue and begin to affect more customers. If possible provide details on what steps were taken to resolve the situation. Also, be sure to let customers know what kind of resolution they can expect moving forward.

Take It Offline

If possible, offer them the opportunity to continue the discussion offline and out of the eyes of the public. Offer them a private Facebook chat, your email address, or phone number as a way to get more information about what happened so you can rectify the situation. If you are able to resolve the issue to their satisfaction, you may be able to ask them to delete their review or even replace it with a favorable one.

You Can Survive a Negative Review

You should never ignore negative reviews, but you should use caution when responding to them. Negative feedback is often a result of communication breakdowns or process failures that can be easily resolved with the right kind of response. While it’s important not to feed into anger by arguing back and being overly negative in your own responses, it’s equally important not to shy away from negative comments because they’re an opportunity for improvement. The key is to stay professional while addressing whatever issues are brought up in negative online reviews so that you may turn these bad ratings into good ones.

Made for You Media is a digital marketing agency based in Winston-Salem, NC with clients across the US and Canada. Our focus is working with local businesses to increase brand awareness, build leads and increase sales. If you would like to talk about ways to get more great reviews or how to deal with negative reviews, call us today at (336) 303-0640 to discuss your needs.

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