Last updated on December 22nd, 2015
When you run a business, two old adages should be in the back of your mind: ‘The customer is always right’ and ‘You can never make everyone happy.’ Given these two sayings, chances are if you work in the service industry, you’re bound to receive a negative online review at some point in your career.
Popular sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, as well as social media, now make it easy for people to see online reviews of businesses, which means handling these reviews should be an important component of every business’s online reputation management strategy.
Once you’ve received a negative review, however, how should you respond? As we discuss below, there are some right (and very wrong) ways to respond to a bad online review. First, let’s start with what you should do.
Positive responses to a bad review include:
- Personalizing your response
Even if you know the information you’re giving the unhappy reviewer is not quite the answer they will want to hear, taking the time to personalize your response can show the disgruntled customer (not to mention other potential customers who may be browsing your reviews before purchasing) that you do indeed care about their feedback.
- Staying positive
Even if the review is negative, make sure the tone of your response is positive.
- Sending a response quickly
If possible, you should respond to any negative review within 24 hours.
- Giving your contact information
Leaving your contact information ensures that your customer knows exactly how to contact you in the future. It also gives you a sense of authority and provides a clear way for customers to reach out to you.
- Keeping your reply brief
Long responses spent trying to dispute a review are ultimately bad for business. Try and keep your replies short and sweet.
Now, let’s take a look at some bad responses to a negative review. Here’s what you definitely should not do:
- Make excuses
Even if something out of your control has led to a bad customer experience, the only responsible way to handle is to own up to the mistake. Your business’s reputation won’t gain anything by making excuses or playing the blame game.
- Blame your customer
Chances are if something has gone wrong, it is not your customer’s fault. And even if it was, placing the fault on the customer is no way to inspire confidence in your customer service.
- Accuse your reviewer of lying
This will only lead to confrontation and further poor reviews. Moreover, it can make you seem petty and unprofessional.
It is important to remember when responding to an online review that you’re not just speaking to the reviewer—you’re putting that response out for the whole online world to see. Even if you receive a negative review, how you handle it can speak volumes about the way you conduct yourself in business and the manner in which your treat your customers.
Responding positively to a negative review is smart marketing and can boost your company’s image to future clients.
If you’d like to see specific examples of how to respond to negative reviews, Seer Interactive has a great article on this topic.
Doing business in the Digital Age means that managing your company’s online reputation is no longer an option– it’s essential. It’s also much more complex. As a search engine marketing company specializing in helping emerging businesses establish a foothold in search rankings, we are keenly aware of the various sites people use to talk about businesses.
To find out more about how our online marketing experts can maximize the positive feedback about your business and manage your online reputation, contact SEO Advantage today.