How to deal with negative online reviews – Key tips & strategies

Online reviews matter. We all know they significantly influence business visibility online and shape customer decisions. 93% of users say online reviews impacted their buying decisions.

Google has confirmed that positive reviews enhance a business’s organic search presence. Moreover, reviews, whether good or bad, provide valuable insights into a business’s performance and customer satisfaction.

They help potential customers gauge the quality and effectiveness of a product or service.

Handling positive reviews may be easy, but responding to negative feedback presents a real challenge. Negative reviews reflect customers’ dissatisfaction and test a company’s responsiveness and adaptability in addressing grievances.

In this blog post, we’ll explore essential strategies for effectively managing negative reviews, a common hurdle for businesses aiming to maintain a positive reputation.

How to Deal with Negative or Bad Reviews?

75% of businesses fail to respond to their negative online reviews. However, those who respond to at least 25% of their reviews generate 35% more revenue compared to businesses that do not respond at all.

Therefore, when someone writes negatively about your company, one must acknowledge their unhappy clients and reply in such a manner that compels them to use your products or services in the future.

So, here’s what you need to know about proper handling and responding to negative reviews.

  1. Look at it as an opportunity: Whenever there is a negative review, the first thought that comes into people’s heads is to remove it. However, it’s challenging to get a review website to agree to take down negative comments. If all the negative reviews are taken down, the review website won’t be helpful to the visitors.

    Instead, take this as an opportunity to showcase your customer service and maybe even show users your side of the story. It’s best not to push your own view too strongly (to avoid arguments) but to stay professional and offer ways to fix the situation.

    If done well, you can show the person (and anyone else reading) that the mistake was genuine and that you are eager to make it right.

  2. Never get personal: Always be thoughtful and give a unique response, but never get personal and ever attack or retaliate.

    Even if you remember the exact person leaving the review and feel they weren’t entirely fair, it’s crucial to respond like a true professional. This will reflect positively on your brand.

  3. Respond quickly with a personalized message: Customers nowadays expect instant gratification in their buyer journey, including the post-purchase brand interaction. So, when dealing with negative reviews, the first thing to do is acknowledge the problem.

    Let the customers know their experience is unacceptable according to your standards and you are apologetic.

    As a business owner, your response is not just for the negative reviewer but for everyone going through reviews, many of whom may have never even criticized your business and are still considering doing business with you.

    While it may take time to read and thoughtfully respond to negative comments, it will boost customer retention rates in the long run.

  4. Make every effort to resolve problems: It’s important to make good customer service a top priority in any industry. If a customer has an issue with your service, you should work to fix the relationship.

    Always be polite and mature in your responses, no matter how the customer acts. Handling complaints well not only looks professional but it can also help you gain customers’ trust and loyalty.

  5. Ask for a second chance: Asking customers for suggestions on improving their experience with your brand in the future is the key to retaining their business. Brands also need to pay attention to and learn from negative feedback. Customer complaints are helpful because they provide insights that can help enhance customer service and increase people’s trust in your brand.

    Offering a voucher, coupon, or replacement product after a negative experience can also help you earn a second chance. But free products or services shouldn’t be your default response as customers may give negative reviews solely to receive a free product.

    If you go this way, ask the customer to update their review if their next experience is better.

  6. Encourage more positive reviews: A lot of positive reviews can offset a negative one. When customers see many good reviews, they tend to overlook a few bad ones.

    Make it easy for your satisfied customers to leave reviews. You can even ask them directly to share positive feedback. Think of a plan and be inventive with it!

  7. Avoid intense communication in public: When responding to customer reviews on social media or other public platforms, remember that your interactions are visible to everyone.

    If a conversation with a customer who has left a negative review becomes unproductive after a couple of exchanges, it’s best to move the discussion offline. Politely suggest that the customer contact you directly to resolve the matter.

  8. Request fake or misleading reviews to be removed: Not all reviews may be genuine. They could come from competitors, former employees, or even potential customers who have never actually used your services but still want to express their frustrations.

    Such reviews typically violate the terms of service of most platforms. When you report these to the platform’s management, they can often be removed.

  9. Follow up with negative reviews: Always follow up with customers who leave negative reviews. Ensure that their concerns have been addressed and that they are satisfied with the resolution. If they are happy with how the situation was handled, kindly ask them to consider removing the negative review if they haven’t already done so.

    While it may not always work, many people will delete their negative feedback if they feel they were treated fairly and reached a satisfactory resolution.

  10. Keep track of your reviews: It’s important to regularly check your online reviews. Whether someone leaves a glowing five-star review or a critical comment, staying updated helps you understand your business’s online reputation and what your customers really think.

    This proactive approach can also alert you to any issues early on, potentially preventing similar problems for other customers. Consider using a review monitoring tool to make this process easier and more efficient.

Final Words!

Dealing with negative online reviews effectively is crucial for maintaining a positive business reputation. Always respond politely and promptly to negative feedback. This will show that you value customer feedback and are willing to improve your services. Personalize your response without getting defensive. Also, it’s crucial to acknowledge the issue and offer a solution or ask the customer to contact you privately to resolve the matter.

It’s also important to recognize when a review may not be genuine. Reviews from competitors, disgruntled ex-employees, or non-customers are often in violation of platform policies and can be disputed or removed.

By following these steps, you can turn negative feedback into a positive opportunity to enhance your service and strengthen your business’s relationship with customers. Also, it’s advisable to hire an online reputation management agency like AlgoSaga. They can provide you with valuable advice and help you deal better with negative reviewers.

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