No matter how you choose to run your business, it is inevitable that at some point or another, you will face the tough situation of getting a negative online review. While it may be tempting to fire back in self-defense, or to wallow in self-pity, those reactions will only compound the criticism you are trying to escape. Instead, it is best that you learn how to handle negative reviews, so that you can make the best of them, for the good of your business. Here is a guide to the best way to respond to a negative online review:
Take the reviewer’s perspective. Sure, it may be hard to take, but the truth is this: most reviews have some basis in fact, even if they are exaggerated. Therefore, it is in your best interest to read between the lines when examining negative reviews. It could be a great opportunity for you to improve your business. Plus, taking some time to consider the other perspective is also a great way to step back and breathe some before formulating a response.
Reply. Don’t ever ignore a bad review. Take the time to provide a thoughtful response. Your business will look much better for it, even in the face of harsh criticism.
Leave emotion out of it. Skip on the defensive, self-justifying, or offensive remarks and maintain a calm, friendly, and business-like tone when you reply to a negative review. Remember that other potential customers will read your response, and behave yourself in a manner you can be proud of down the line – a manner that speaks for your business in a positive way.
Sympathize. You don’t have to apologize if you are truly not at all at fault. However, you still need to acknowledge that you feel bad that the customer had an upsetting experience with your business. You may say something like, “This business prides itself on customer service, and it upsets me to know that you are not happy with your experience working with us.”
Provide a solution. It is a great idea to offer the reviewer a coupon and ask for a chance to redeem yourself (or your business reputation, that is). For example, if the reviewer complained that your representative was late, offer a coupon for the next service, and promise the representative will be on time.
False reviews. If a review is illegal, irrelevant to your business, or an outright falsification, then you can report it to the site administrator (or flag it) to have it reviewed.