How to deal with bad reviews online

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Online reviews are an inevitable part of having a digital presence and negative reviews are an inevitable part of having a business.

Nobody can please everyone all the time, even if you have got the best customer service team anyone could ask for and the most beloved product or service in the industry.

But that does not mean you should simply let those bad reviews slide – in fact, you can make them work in your favour.

For starters, a less-than-rosy review will ensure your shining reviews look authentic, as people do expect to see the odd negative review no matter how great the product or service. Additionally, you can mentally thank the reviewer for helping to boost your local business SEO, as reviews of any kind can factor into your ranking.

Further to that, there are steps you can take to mitigate any damage.

Always take the high road

Don’t be tempted to remove negative reviews, or to react poorly to them. Remember that leaving them up adds legitimacy to your positive reviews, boosts your SEO, and gives you a chance to showcase your professionalism.

That is to say, even if the review is unfair, take the high road with your response. Thank them for the review, avoid personal attacks, and offer a professional reply that consists purely of the facts as you see them – without any emotion.

If it helps, type up the reply you want to submit, get it all out, then delete it and submit a professional one instead. When other readers see your reply, they will see a professional brand willing to take criticism and learn from their mistakes, which can quickly neutralise and damage the review may have done.

Promise to learn and improve

Whether the review is about your product, service, user experience, or anything else, there is always something you can learn.

If the customer has a legitimate complaint, find a way to make it up to them, but also take their complaint and use it to drive improvements within the business.

Even if their complaint is not particularly fair, you can still find something to improve on. Perhaps a customer left a negative review of your café because it was closed when they visited, so from this you can make your opening hours clearer and keep them updated across all your online platforms.

Encourage good reviews

Have you recently served a customer or client who was obviously pleased with the experience? Hand them a card and ask them politely for a review or send them a quick email with a link for where to review your business.

As much as 94% of consumers say that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business according to a Bright Local survey, so encouraging more of the positive kind can effectively drown out any negative ones.

Get off public forums

Some negative reviews will be simple enough to respond to with a quick but sincere reply, but others will take some untangling.

In this case, respond with your thanks and a custom message, then offer the customer a personal call or email to sort out the details. This might be a refund, exchange, or other kind of compensation.

By taking the conversation away from the public eye, you are moving the discussion into a place where it can’t do further damage should the consumer continue to be negative. Your initial public response is important, but your private actions will help to re-earn that person’s trust.

Respond quickly

From your Facebook messages to your email enquiries and your negative reviews, any good local online marketing company will offer you the same advice – respond as quickly as you are able.

Everyone expects fasts responses these days, and the longer you leave a negative review to sit, the more people will see it without a response from you to mitigate the effects.

Get on top of the problem as soon as possible to show the unhappy customer that their opinion matters, potentially win them back and prove to anyone who’s watching that you take negative reviews seriously.

Get on top of your reviews with a local online marketing company

Local Web can guide you in dealing with negative reviews through an effective and tailored digital marketing strategy. We will help you minimise the negatives in the first place and turn them into positives as often as possible.

Get in touch today to find out more.

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