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5 essential steps for dealing with negative business reviews

Posted by Shivali Anand

November 23, 2021    |     4-minute read (660 words)

Negative business reviews usually result from incompatible expectations or uncontrollable events. While they are just a part of doing business, entrepreneurs can turn bad reviews into growth opportunities that in the end will bring more pleased customers.

Here are five strategies for turning poor business reviews into a positive.

  1. Check reviews regularly
Since negative reviews may influence potential customers to go elsewhere, you need a strategy for monitoring your company's ratings. Every bad review that goes ignored is actually a missed opportunity to retain customers and attract new ones.

To stay on top of customer reviews, use Google alerts, check relevant sites and monitor social media. Not only do you need a defined method for checking consumer reviews, but you also need one for responding to them. 

You may wish to assign a team member department to address negative reviews, or you can conduct the process yourself. Monitor them for common complaints to see if a certain product or service is a trouble spot.

  1. Acknowledge and apologize
Customers pay close attention to how businesses respond to their complaints and whether they get resolved. In the fewest possible terms, acknowledge the reviewer’s experience, explain the problem and apologize without criticizing. Be clear that you are sorry for their poor experience.

Pledge to correct the mistake and inform them that your company's mission is to give high-quality service. Express gratitude that they took the time to communicate their concerns with your business.

  1. Respond promptly and professionally
Most customers expect a timely response when they go to the bother of leaving a review. And according to research from Harvard Business Review, ratings increase for businesses that respond to customer reviews, whether they are good or bad. 

Because no two bad business reviews will be the same, you will need a unique response for each one, based on the interaction, perspective or problem raised. Post a response as quickly as possible or assign an employee to respond immediately. Your prompt reaction shows you are listening to the reviewer’s concerns while also reassuring prospective customers that the same problem won't happen again.

To the extent possible, contrast the reviewer's negative experience with your business’s policies. Mention some of your company's advantages in your reply and provide any necessary contact information. You or any employee responding to poor online reviews should use your real name and role in the company.

Tell the customer you are investigating the problem and when you’ll fix it. Take the opportunity to reaffirm your business’s customer service values and boost its online image. Responding favorably to negative reviews and handling them in a professional manner can lead to higher ratings and conversion rates.

  1. Assess the situation and resolve accordingly
After deciding which part of your business needs improvement, brainstorm possible solutions and evaluate their outcomes. The most important thing is to apply what you learn from negative reviews. Customers trust businesses that they know will fix problems. 

Assign responsibility for the review to an employee or manager with corresponding expertise. Consider giving the customer a gift card or special deal, if applicable.

Some platforms give businesses control over their online reviews, but others prevent a direct response. In the latter scenario, take the matter offline and explain how you'll make up for the customer's bad experience. If it takes longer, inform them that the party in charge is working on it.

  1. Follow up and request feedback
Positive reviews are the best tool for offsetting negative ones. Once the issue is resolved, post a public answer to show your commitment to prompt resolution and professional customer service. Potential customers who see your communication will think of you as trustworthy.

Be sure to follow up with dissatisfied customers to confirm whether the problem has been resolved to their satisfaction. Some may even end up changing their review to a positive one. Remember that every poor review has to be addressed with care to earn the loyalty of customers.

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