As much as we would like life (and business) to run smoothly all the time, it doesn’t. Negative reviews are part of running a business, and we can’t stop them from coming. The way you deal with these reviews can either help or harm your business; if you’re dealing with some not-so-glowing reviews right now, follow these steps to mitigate the damage.
- Find the negative review(s). Using a search engine, type your business’ name and the word “reviews” into the search box. Look over the first couple of pages of search results to pinpoint any reviews which could cause problems; potential customers typically search the first few pages when looking for information on your company.
- Claim the listings. Once you’ve located the negative reviews, you’ll have to sign into the website which contains them. Some sites will have you verify your login through email or telephone, which shouldn’t take long. Other sites have a push-button claims process, but either way, you’ll need to claim the review so you can respond to it.
- Be professional in your response. It doesn’t matter whether the negative review is deserved or not; you need to acknowledge it and admit responsibility in the space of a few sentences. Do your best to resolve the complaint, and if the reviewer didn’t provide an explanation for the negative review, politely ask for one. Above all, don’t argue with the reviewer or offer excuses— your responses can be seen by the public, and engaging in an argument will only make your business look worse. Simply acknowledge the mistake, and talk to your e-fulfillment team to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
- Improve the way your business is run. Online and other types of reviews are meant to help your business identify its areas of strength and weakness, and it’s your responsibility to use the knowledge you gain to generate more positive publicity. Just as a negative review can harm your business, a positive one can increase conversion rates, leads and sales.
- Generate positive publicity. This can be the hardest part of the process; usually, when a customer is satisfied, they won’t want to leave a review. When you communicate with customers, encourage them to leave a good review, or use review generation software and/or incentives.
- Monitor the major review websites. Google Maps, the BBB, Yellow Pages, Yelp, and Angie’s List are the top review sites, and thousands of happy (and unhappy) customers use them every day. Regularly monitor these sites so you can pick up on any negative reviews and deal with them in a timely manner.
As we said, dealing with negative reviews and dissatisfied customers is part of being a business owner. Set yourself apart from your competitors by dealing with the bad press in a professional and courteous manner. You may not make every customer happy, but you’ll be secure in the knowledge that you did your best to resolve the situation.
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