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Recover From Negative Reviews

So you’ve gotten a negative review, your rating on Google Maps has dropped a star or two, and now you’re panicking.

First, let’s take a second to just relax.

Let’s acknowledge this first: It’s impossible to make everyone happy 100% of the time. Sometimes the stars just don’t align and you provide subpar service or the customer is just having a bad day. Every business gets bad reviews, but it’s ultimately up to you to make the right choices when recovering from a negative customer experience.

the impacts of a bad review

Steps for Handling a Negative Review

It’s important that you monitor and respond to reviews. If a customer has a negative experience with you, that may be the end of their future business with your company, and their review could sway other potential clients from ever contacting you at all. Lee Resources International claims that customers have a 91% chance of refusing to do business with places they’ve had a bad experience with.

The great thing about online reviews is that you typically have a direct line of communication with the reviewer, which means that you may have the opportunity to recover the business and have them remove the review.

Most bad reviews are left simply because the client wants their frustration to be heard and resolved. Instead of reaching out to you directly with their concern, they choose to leave a bad review to get your attention. These reviews can often be removed by the customer or even converted to positive experiences when handled the right way.

the power of a positive review
  1. Try to rectify the problem with the customer. Getting a customer to give you a second chance and to update their review should be your main objective. Not only do you have an opportunity to get them to remove the negative review, but you’ve got a chance to turn it into a positive review instead. Reach out to the customer and try your best to change their opinion about you. Listen to them without being defensive, and understand that whatever the issue is, no matter how menial it may seem to you, is important to them. Give them the attention that they need, offer a solution to their problem, or even ask them what you can do to make things right for them. We have found that people will often ask for less than you would have offered. Sometimes a simple apology is all it takes to right the ship. If you get back on their good side, don’t be afraid to ask if they will update their review. 
  2. Write a reply to the review. It is always best to attempt to reach out and resolve the issue with the client first. However, if you aren’t sure who left the review, don’t have a way to reach them, or they aren’t responding to your attempts to contact them, writing a reply may be your only option. Many sites allow you to reply directly to the review and provide your own insight. In most cases this should simply be an apology, and a way to contact you to get resolution to their concerns. However, if the case is unusual or specific in circumstance, providing context and clarification may persuade other customers that the situation was an honest mistake and not representative of your business as a whole. 
  3. If the review doesn’t follow the guidelines, request to have it removed. Sometimes your competitors will seek out ways to hurt your business, and that includes writing fraudulent negative reviews. If you find fake reviews, reviews that break the guidelines, or believe that they’re not representative of a typical customer experience, you can often request to have the review removed from the platform it’s hosted on. 
  4. DON’T combat it with fake reviews! This is perhaps the worst mistake any business could make. Not only does it take an incredible number of positive reviews to recover the damages from 1 negative review, it also makes your business look bad to consumers and puts you at risk of having your business taken off the platform.Writing fake reviews is always bad business. It is always better to call in the troops and send review requests to friends, colleagues, family, and other happy customers to help dilute the effects of the bad review.

It’s Not All Negative

A negative review doesn’t mean it’s time to close up shop and sell the office furniture. In fact, there really is a silver-lining to bad reviews.

  1. Criticism is healthy for growing your business. If you legitimately messed up, having that feedback available to you is what you need to grow. Being proactive, admitting to your mistakes, and actively working to improve your business will show customers that you’re serious about your customer relations. 
  2. It may make your business look more legitimate. Ironically, having negative reviews may actually make your business more appealing to customers. Many customers today are skeptical about online reviews because of how easy it is to fake them. If your business has a large amount of only positive reviews, that can trigger a potential customer to question the legitimacy of those reviews, and in turn, question the integrity of your business and your business practices.

Final Thoughts

Negative reviews are not the end of the world. As a business owner, you’re obligated to respect and resolve any criticism or shortcomings that are brought to your attention. Finding effective ways to step in front of the problem can help you turn a negative review into an opportunity to make your business better than ever.

When handling negative reviews, remember:

  • Reach out to the reviewers as quickly as possible to resolve their issue..
  • Don’t be afraid to reply to negative reviews, and simply apologize for the mistake. 
  • Negative reviews may actually be beneficial for your business in healthy doses.
  • Don’t fake reviews, it will only hurt you in the long run.
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