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How to Manage Negative Online Reviews

Managing Negative ReviewsIn this digital age, where everyone lives and communicates online, online reviews can really make or break a business, therefore, managing your reviews must be a priority. Beyond just what the consumer thinks, online reviews are indexed by search engines and positive reviews increase the trust signal for a business.

Today, we are going to talk about negative reviews and how to manage them. To help with that I am going to give you some pointers on how businesses can turn a negative review into a positive result.

3 Methods for Overcoming Negative Online Reviews

In the past, if you were willing to be a little dishonest, bad online reviews weren’t really a big problem. A business or brand could simply bury them in great reviews that were written themselves or by someone else paid to write them, however, both of these will be flagged by review sites and only do more harm to the business. Yelp, for example, has started labeling reviews it believes to be fraudulent with a “consumer alert” that tells readers they may not be able to trust what they’re reading and it probably won’t be long before other big review sites start following suit.

Obviously, you don’t want a business’s page filled with consumer alerts and fake reviews, but that doesn’t mean you should just leave bad reviews lying around to fester either. Instead there are things you can do to properly, and honestly, manage a bad review.

1. Verify the Review

First things first, read the review carefully to see if you can determine whether or not a real customer is writing about a real experience. Pay attention to information like when the customer claims to have come in or placed an order and who assisted him or her. Just as businesses have been known to post false positive reviews, sneaky competitors will sometimes post false negative reviews on the sites of other businesses.

If you can’t determine whether or not a review is real, or there are doubts, contact the review site. Some sites will take a review down based on your word while others will only do it if you can prove the review is fraudulent. However, it never hurts to contact the review site and see what they’re willing to do.

2. Be Responsive

While it can be tempting to just ignore bad reviews, that doesn’t really do the business any favors. If a review site allows you to respond, do so. Just make sure you do so calmly!

Address the problems the reviewer mentions, apologize and ask them to contact you to resolve the situation. Don’t offer a refund or promise something free within the public reply. This might incite others to give negative reviews, just to get a freebie. Replying to the review shows the business cares and is willing to make amends. In this way a bad review can actually do good things, such as build client trust, in the business.

3. Play Up the Positive

Enough positive reviews can overcome, and eventually bury, a negative review but they must be honest reviews from actual customers of the business. To encourage more positive reviews, make it easy for customers to write one. For example, add a link to click in the online receipt that takes them straight to a review site. This will allow them to quickly and easily write something positive about their experience and the easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to do it.

Having numerous positive reviews will improve your reputation all across the web and will also help to negate any bad reviews that exist.

Remember, every business will get a negative review from time to time, but how you deal with them will make the difference in that business’s online reputation.

Do you have any tips to add to the list on how to handle a negative online review? Comment below.

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