When you discover you received a negative online review, the hardest thing is knowing what to do. You read the review once, then twice and pretty soon you are so upset that you feel the need to passionately defend yourself. Unfortunately, this is the worst thing you can do in the online world and I have seen numerous cases where emotion made a bad situation worse.
So, what is the right thing to do? There’s no single answer, but here are 5 things you can do that won’t make an unfortunate situation worse.
1. Don’t get emotional
You take pride in the work you do and you try to do the best job possible. When someone writes a negative review it hurts. As hard at it is to take criticism in stride, the best advice is to not get emotional. The worst thing you can do is participate in an online battle of words over this review. These exchanges come off as unprofessional and can make you seem childish and petty.
2. Address the Review Directly and Professionally
Although an emotional response is a bad idea, responding directly and professionally can help. A well thought response communicates to other would-be customers that you care about making your customers happy.
The best responses are simple responses. An example would be: “I am sorry to hear about your bad experience with us, but we are committed to exceeding our customer’s expectations. Please feel free to call me directly to discuss and I will do my best to resolve the situation.”
3. If given the opportunity, genuinely try to resolve the situation
Sometimes the reviewer will take you up on your resolution offer and give you a call. If they do, take them seriously. Talk through their issues and see if you can come up with a sensible resolution. If the situation is resolved, the same person that criticized you may end up singing your praise.
4. See Negative Reviews as Opportunity
Just because you don’t like to hear negative feedback doesn’t mean the feedback is wrong. The most savvy business owners use negative reviews as learning opportunities. Take the time to understand the feedback, do a self-assessment, and then make any necessary changes to improve your business.
5. Get Some Positive Reviews
Yes, one bad review probably cancels out 5 good reviews. But, one negative review with no positive reviews, hurts even worse. If you have multiple people signing your praise, potential customers are more likely to look at a negative review as an isolated incident. So, make sure your business has a strategy to encourage positive online reviews.
Research shows that nearly one-quarter of Internet users leave online reviews about products and services they use. If you’ve given someone a good experience, chances are they’ll want to share it with others. Create and maintain places where people can get to easily and leave a review. The most common places are Yelp, Google+ and Facebook.
By Bill Mulcahy, Vice President of Ads Next
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