Negative Online Reviews: The Do’s and Don’ts of Damage Control

By | October 16, 2022

Negative Review Management

If you own a business, chances are you’ve gotten an online negative review at some point. It’s unfortunate, but it happens to even the best businesses out there. The important thing is how you handle it. Responding to negative feedback in a positive, professional manner can actually improve your reputation and show potential customers that you’re committed to providing excellent service. Here’s how to handle negative online reviews like a pro.

DON’T Panic – DO Respond Quickly

When you see a negative review, it’s natural to feel a little defensive, but try not to take it personally. If you’re feeling particularly defensive, give it a day or so, but respond as quickly as possible. Don’t let the review sit for more than a day or so—definitely not weeks—without a response. The longer it sits there, the more damage it can do to your business’s reputation. Address the issue head-on and show your customers that you care about their experience.

DO Consider The Source

Most Reviewers have an online account. Did the negative review come from someone who ONLY leaves negative reviews? If so, a reply may cause them to remove their negative review, or at least raise it a star or 2. Did it come from someone with an obviously fake account? Submitting a ticket to the Review site may help them rid their site of this account (thereby removing the negative review from your profile).

DON’T Get Defensive

It can be tempting to get defensive when you see a negative review but resist that urge. Getting defensive will only make the situation worse. Instead, try to see the customer’s perspective and empathize with them. Thank them for their feedback, acknowledge their concerns, and let them know that you’re working on resolving the issue. If appropriate, offer a solution or an apology.

DO Take it Offline

If possible, take the conversation offline by inviting them to contact you directly if they would like to discuss the matter further. This will allow you to resolve the issue in a more private setting (via phone call or one-on-one visit) where you can give the customer your undivided attention. Sometimes, all a customer wants is a little bit of attention and they’ll be satisfied. Other times, they may have a legitimate grievance that you need to address. Either way, taking it offline is almost always the best course of action.

DON’T Delete Negative Reviews

In the age of fake news, people are quick to call B.S. when they see something they don’t like. If you delete a negative review, people will think that you’re trying to cover something up—even if that’s not the case. It’s always better to leave the review up and address it head-on than it is to delete it and pretend like it never happened. If you know the Review is fake or unwarranted, submitting a ticket to the Review site can help remove those.

Request review removal:

DO Take Time to Reflect

Are there any lessons to be learned from the review? Is there anything you could have done differently? Are there any changes you can make going forward to prevent similar situations from arising? Addressing negative reviews in a constructive way will not only improve your relationships with customers—it will also help you improve your business.

Negative reviews are inevitable—but that doesn’t mean they have to ruin your business. Responding in a positive, professional manner can actually improve your reputation and show potential customers that you’re committed to providing excellent service. By following the above tips, you can handle negative reviews like a pro and come out unscathed on the other side.

Remember: stay calm, stay collected, and take it one step at a time. You’ve got this!  Need help? Contact me – Reputation Management is one of my services!

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