How to Handle Bad Online Reviews
Bad online reviews online may have the power to cost you new customers. And if you’ve ever received a bad review, you’re painfully aware of how that stings — especially for a small business.
Do you have any bad reviews?
The first step to dealing with the problem is knowing it exists. You can check for yourself at the most common sites that post reviews like Yelp, Google Places, Angie’s List, Judy’s Book, CitySearch, and so forth.
One approach we handle for many of our clients is PowerListings. That’s primarily a service to ensure that your NAP (name, address, phone) information is correct and consistent across more than 50 local search engines, directories, and applications. One of the more valuable features is that it lets you check reviews at any of those sites as well.
Your first reaction is likely to be angry denial. Stifle that. In a helpful article in Small Biz Trends, Megan Totka discourages your gut reaction to
- Argue about it
- Pay people for good reviews to counter it
- Ignore it
Instead, she suggests that you be objective. If the review is a flamingly irrational rant, it maybe best to ignore it: the tone will convince people it’s not worth serious consideration.
Otherwise, you should respond tactfully and positively. If it’s a legitimate complaint, apologize and try to make it right. You’ll be seen as sincerely wanting to help. That can actually turn a negative review into a positive experience that more than compensates for the initial review.
There are a number of ways you can become proactive and at the same time encourage happy customers to write positive reviews and discourage disappointed customers from posting negative reviews. There are a number of “reputation defense” organizations that purport to fix a problem review reputation, but we haven’t worked with any of them so can’t vouch for them.
How have you dealt with negative reviews, and how well did it work? Tell us in the comments below.
If you like our blog, please share that with the buttons above and give us a +1 at the top of the page. (Thanks!)