How and Why You Should Respond to Negative Online Reviews

Nobody ever wants to see a negative review about their business online. It’s frustrating and a little bit depressing when someone posts a bad comment that anyone can see. Unfortunately, you can’t completely control what is posted about your business on social media or on review sites like Yelp or Google.

Always Make a Response

A lot of business owners/managers are really good about posting responses when the site allows for it. However, they tend to only respond to positive reviews (“Thank you. We appreciate your business. Yada, yada, yada.”) and they try to ignore any negative comments or low ratings. This is a mistake. You want to react to these negative reviews head-on, but with a strategic, tactful approach. In many cases, you can turn a negative review into a positive impression. This is what online reputation management is all about.

Dealing with False Reviewers

Obviously, there are different types of negative reviews and some are truly frustrating as a business owner. First, it could be a spammer looking to cause trouble. Second, it could be a petty competitor trying to bring you down. You can’t necessarily prevent these “false” reviews from happening, but you can post responses that essentially call out the poster without being defensive about it.

Here’s an example. Someone who clearly wasn’t a customer posts a nasty review about your business. Post a response that offers a brief apology, but then ask questions of the reviewer. Subtly try to point out that they aren’t actually a customer of yours or try to request more specific details about what they bought, when they bought it, etc. They usually won’t respond when you call them out, or if they do persist you can eventually catch them in a lie after some back-and-forth comments. Either way, anybody else who is reading the responses will clearly figure out that this reviewer is not to be trusted.

Dealing with Legitimate Negative Reviewers

In the cases where the reviewer is legitimate and actually had a bad experience with your business, you’ll still want to respond. However, you have to be even more tactful. There’s no shame in offering a simple apology and making an effort to try and rectify the situation. You may never get this customer back, but others will see that you care and you are trying to make it right. This can actually go a long way. If you ignore a bad review, then that’s all the other reader will see and the negative review will resonate stronger in their mind.

Always be pushing your online reputation. Make thoughtful responses to any negative reviews and encourage all customers to write reviews as much as possible. Odds are the positive reviews will far outweigh the negatives. Even if you do have a few nasty comments about your business, you can drown them out over time with positive reviews and high ratings. If you have nine good reviews compared to every one bad review, people are going to form a positive overall impression.

To learn more about NextGear Marketing’s online content packages that include Monthly Online Reputation Reports, contact me today.

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