Handle With Care: How To Address Negative Online Reviews

Every company hopes to provide the best products and services, and they hope to make every customer’s experience enjoyable. Unfortunately, that’s not always going to occur. Sometimes, your company is going to upset a customer to the point where they write a negative online review about your business on sites like Google+ Local or Yelp. Although you cannot control what customers say about you online, you can help to diffuse the situation by addressing these negative comments.

The following tips will help you handle each and every negative review with care to help put the customer’s mind at ease.

Read the entire review.

Don’t read the first line and assume you know where it’s going. Instead, read the entire review, and re-read it if you have to in order to ensure you understand everything that the customer is saying. The last thing you want to do is to respond to a negative review without understanding the entire complaint.

Don’t react.

You take your business seriously, and when someone says something bad about your business, your first response may be to become upset or angry. It’s very important that you don’t do this. Never accuse a customer of lying or exaggerating the truth, and never ever sink to a level where you berate a customer on a public forum. Instead, if you become upset, be sure to walk away and take some time to calm down before responding to the review.

Respond to the review sincerely.

Although you may not want to apologize or be nice to the angry reviewer, it’s important that you not only respond to the review, but that you also respond sincerely. Make sure that you apologize to the individual for their poor experience with your business and be sincere about it. Sometimes receiving a response from you will make the reviewer realize that their experience wasn’t as bad as they claimed it was, or they may simply be appreciative that you took the time to respond to their review at all. Don’t let negative reviews sit on review sites unanswered, and instead respond sincerely.

State who you are.

It’s very important that the person responding to the review states who they are. For example, give your name and your title at the company. This personalizes your response and lets the reviewer know that they are talking to a real person and not just some random individual hiding behind a computer. Keep in mind that it’s also better if responses come from higher employees, such as managers, owners or CEOs. If possible, always have these people respond to the reviews.

Make the situation right.

Listen to what the reviewer is saying and do what you can to make the situation right. For example, were they complaining about an unclean bathroom? If so, be sure that your staff is constantly monitoring the bathroom to ensure cleanliness. Let your reviewer know that you’ve taken the steps to right the situation. They’ll be flattered that you took their advice.

Offer an incentive for a return visit.

You can always offer the individual an incentive to come back and check out your establishment once you’ve made the necessary changes. You can offer them something for free, or even offer them a coupon for a nice discount. If they do come back and like their experience, they may write a positive review for your business.

Respond quickly.

It’s also very important that all negative reviews receive responses in a timely fashion. The longer you let the review sit, the longer the individual will stay upset, and they may turn to other review sites to post their negative comments about your business. Make sure that you’re using an online review monitoring system to help you stay on top of any new reviews that appear on your page.

Austin Jones is an online reputation management professional who specializes in tracking and monitoring negative customer reviews. His reports help businesses take counter measures to turn unhappy customers into loyal customers.

Published by Thomas Ballantyne


Thomas Ballantyne is the Director of Marketing with Bulwark Exterminating, an industry leader in providing high quality pest control service. Bulwark is fully operational in seven states, including twelve major cities. While Bulwark provides pest extermination for common insects such as ants, roaches, crickets and spiders, the company’s differentiating aspect is great personalized service. Bulwark uses the finest and most effective products in the world to solve common pest problems.

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