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The Guide to Handling Negative Reviews

The Guide to Handling Negative Reviews

If your business has an online presence, then you probably have a review section. And it’s likely you care about it…After all, reviews are part of your branding. Having negatives reviews has the impact of repelling business. But with positive reviews, you keep a large portion of your traffic. So managing negative reviews is a must. And today, we’ll help you with that. We’ll mention 5 tips on how to deal them. We’ll show you how to deal with online bullies and unsatisfied customers. Follow the tips, and ensure you keep a good online reputation!

(1) Pay Attention.

Online bullies aren’t like offline ones. People who leave negative reviews online tend to be the type to hide. That is, they’re the types that enjoy ranting, and dislike confrontation. Yet at the same time, their remarks about your business may be sensitive. And this may lead you to ignore confrontation, out of fear of provoking more unnecessary comments.


Our Advice.

Don’t avoid confrontation. Keep your presence. If an issue exists online, deal with it. Respond in a rational manner to negative reviews, and keep it constructive. This requires you to stay attentive. That is, you can’t expect negative reviews to disappear if you ignore them.


(2) Think Hard Before Responding.

Alright, so you’ve decided to confront the negative reviews on your business. From there, it’s time to plan what to do. We recommend taking some time before coming up with a response. That is, don’t respond in the heat of the moment. You should never let your emotions or impulses drive you. Instead, take a moment to measure your next move. And do so by asking the following questions…


Are the Complaints Legitimate?

Not all negative reviews are left by bullies. Many of them are left as constructive and polite (albeit critical) feedback. When you see such reviews, make sure to respect the commenter. Such reviews are left with good intentions, and they open up room for constructive resolution. Take the time to handle the concerns in such reviews well. Respond, attempt to resolve the situation through private messaging, and take responsibility for your mistakes (if any exist). 


What if the Reviews Are Non-Legit?

No worries, those are easy to handle. They usually show up as raging rants by anonymous users, and they’re in capital letters. You can either ignore those (or) you can leave an automated reply with your contact info (and leave it at that).


(3) Handling Negative (but polite) Reviews.

Those reviews tend to belong to legitimate customers. Here, make sure to research the transaction, and stay communicative with the reviewer. If you feel the need for assistance, ask colleagues on how to respond appropriately. Take their experience in tracking and handling complaints, and use that to guide your communication with the reviewer. From there, attempt to reach a satisfactory resolution.


(4) Choose the Best Response Channel

When choosing to respond, you can either respond online to the comment, or take it to a more private medium (like email, phone, etc.) When responding online, keep in mind that this is affects your branding. An online response showcases your customer support skills. It shows other clients what to expect if they run into a problem with your service. As a result, when responding online, you may want to keep it a diplomacy war. The win condition is to appear as constructive as possible, even if you’re at fault for a bad service. Doing so earns you lots of trust and integrity from prospects seeking a safe service. As for private responses, you can opt for those if for order specifics. For example, discussing logistics, delivery mishaps, and private information. However, do note that there is variance with private channels. For example, when talking on phone, you have to factor in the emotional response of some clients. Some may be polite and conversational, totally unlike their reviews. And a small number may shout and scream at you. Accounting for that variance is necessary. You have to practice maintaining calmness in different situations, while reaching a constructive solution.


(5) Don’t Stall Negative Reviews.

Confronting reviews doesn’t mean rushing responses. Nor does it mean being evasive either. Stalling is not in your favor. The longer you leave negative reviews unattended to, the more you risk loss of business. This applies especially with bullies, who leave frequent negative responses to scar your business. You have to plan out a thoughtful response. But you need to execute it quick. We recommend a maximum waiting period of a 1-2 days. Never wait any longer, as this shows negligence. During that time, you should’ve reviewed the client’s situation (if they’re actually a client), and planned an appropriate response.  But just as a reminder, the following rules should assist you…

         Don’t lash at your customer, and ensure it never gets personal. Stay professional, just like in a live conversation.

         Only focus on real concerns, not ad-hominem attacks or slurs.

         Stay on-point and be direct, never deviate off topic.

         Be thankful to reviewers who give constructive feedback (even if negative). Appreciate the chance to correct and upgrade your business.

         Apologize when you can, but avoid responsibility for things not your fault.

         Walk away from bullies – especially those with a goal of embarrassing you.


In Summation.

The world of online business is tough. There are many challenges to face, and one of them is dealing with negative reviews. Some people are polite, while others are upright mean (and there’s little you can do about meanness). However, what you can do is damage control. You can respond to the mess around you carefully, and in a way that your customers will appreciate. And do note, it’s an opportunity to brand. You can use negative reviews as a chance to show off your customer support skills. You can use it as a way to show your business’ integrity. In the long-run, this’ll get you many customers. This’ll allow you to surround your business with individuals who appreciate your service, while helping you thrive!

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