Quick Guide to Managing Bad Online Reviews

Good or bad, today’s social sharing means every business is being publicly judged. That, you can’t control. However, you can control how you manage those reviews that reflect poorly on your small business. So here’s a quick guide to managing bad online reviews so you know what to do the next time you get a one-star review.

Step 1: Monitor Reviews

There are hundreds of sites where people leave online reviews, from Facebook to Yelp to Tripadvisor and Google, but don’t get overwhelmed. Instead, set up some alerts on your Social Media aggregator and Google Alerts, and check the main review websites that affect you most every day. You can take it a step further by enlisting a service like Reputology or ReviewTracker to help you manage your online reputation.

Step 2: Take a Deep Breath

When you discover a negative review, you may feel angry because the review is false, or unfair and you may be tempted to respond with ALL CAPS or call up the online review site in a huff demanding they take it down. Your business is your livelihood after all. But doing so is often counterproductive and can do more damage to your reputation. Instead, take a breath. And think of each negative review as an opportunity to show your world-class customer service.

Step 3: Respond Immediately

The best way to manage negative feedback is to meet it head-on before it snowballs out of control. First, respond privately to the reviewer. Thank them for choosing you in the first place, acknowledge their complaint and try to get to an agreement on how to fix the problem. Ask the reviewer to remove the negative review or update it, if they are ultimately satisfied with the end result.

Then, respond publicly, thanking the customer for their review, focusing on the positive parts of your business, any changes you made as a result of the review, and redirect people to the positive reviews you have. One bad review isn’t often enough to deter a potential new client, but it’s important that they see you quickly attempting to resolve a problem.

Step 4: Prevent Problems in The Future

Online reviews should not be the only way you’re receiving customer feedback. Be proactive! Follow up with customers after a job is done with a phone call and even email them a survey to hear complaints and potentially resolve them before anything is made public.

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