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How Do I Handle Negative Online Reviews?

By August 21, 2018February 5th, 2021Media Monitoring

In today’s digital world, online reviews can make or break your business. From Google to Facebook to Yelp, what people say about your company matters. Whether it’s a good or bad review, often times it’s about what you do with it that counts.

According to a 2017 local customer review survey, 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as their friends’ recommendations. Also, 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they’re treated. And unfortunately, with any business, not everyone is going to love what you’re doing 100% of the time. Eventually, you’re going to get a negative review. Below we’ve listed steps on how to handle negative online reviews:

Keep calm

The absolute worst thing you can do when you receive a bad review is to impulsively reply without thinking. Of course, it’s normal to be upset about a negative review. It doesn’t mean responding in haste. A great way to preempt this is to have your PR team come up with a standard set of responses that you can pull from when you see a negative review. You can even throw in a little bit of marketing–take the situation and spin it, emphasizing the experience that happened isn’t business SOP. Writing it to appeal to your target audience also improves your reputation in the long run.

Respond quickly

It’s imperative that you respond immediately to your online reviews. Failing to respond quickly implies that you aren’t focused on your customers or their feedback. Not responding to the negative review can also create a snowball effect and more dissatisfied customers may jump on board. However, responding with a short, sympathetic reply ensures the customer feels heard and shows your company’s commitment to your customers. If possible, including a customer service rep in your response also allows for you to take the conversation offline, so there’s less back and forth between your company and customer in the public eye. You also don’t want to tag your company in your response because the reviews will more likely appear when prospective clients are searching for you online.

Resolve the problem

Responding to your customer’s problem is one thing, but resolving it is another. Whether it’s a refund, store credit or a discount on their next order, it’s all about turning a dissatisfied customer into a brand advocate. For example, Amazon, approaching a net worth of one trillion dollars, has consistently been rated as having one of the best customer service programs. With a 24/7/365 mentality, you can get your issue resolved at a moment’s notice. Beyond the company’s brilliant business strategies that make it one of the most successful companies in the world, it also keeps its over 300 million users satisfied.

Monitor reviews

Keeping on top of your reviews is essential to responding to both good and bad reviews. If you don’t know what your customers are thinking about your products or services, it’s next to impossible to improve! Media monitoring and social listening allow your company to continuously move forward in developing customer satisfaction, and in turn reach new customers. Being aware of the influx of reviews will also allow you to gauge whether you need more positive reviews. In fact, most people only read 10 reviews before deciding whether to use a business. So, the more positive reviews you get by addressing your customers’ needs, the farther those negative reviews will be pushed down.

Jolie Shapiro Picture
Jolie Shapiro

Passionate about all things communications, Jolie found her dream job as a copywriter with Critical Mention, where she’s continuing her passion for writing and editing. With a background working for high-profile clients in the financial, hospitality and technology industries, she’s excited to bring her experience to Critical Mention. When she’s not writing you can find her at music festivals, hiking or snowboarding.


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