Every business owner dreads the day their product or service receives a negative review, but it’s an unavoidable part of running any successful company. While negative reviews hurt your reputation and cause customers to question the quality of your brand, the way you react to them can make all the difference in how they affect your bottom line. Follow these five steps for how to handle negative reviews to keep your reputation intact and build your brand instead of letting it implode under the pressure of bad reviews.
1) Don’t Panic
The first thing you need to know about handling negative reviews is that panic will kill you. The person who wrote it may be a jerk or worse, but their opinion (and threats) don’t mean anything more than what you want them to mean: nothing. So stay calm and stay in control of your business. The only way to do that is by visiting focused on what matters: customer experience. Your brand might suffer for a while after a negative review goes live, but if people feel like they’re getting excellent customer service from your team, then they’ll keep coming back for more – and leave better reviews down the road.
2) Understand where they’re coming from
The first step in handling a negative review is to understand where they’re coming from. Negative thoughts are often filled with anger, frustration, and sadness—three emotions that can be contagious. Take a moment to put yourself in their shoes; try to empathize with what led them to write such a negative review. It might not change your mind or actions, but it will allow you to listen better and handle any future negative feedback more effectively.
3) Take Action
The first step in dealing with a negative review is to respond quickly and with care. A quick response (that’s also genuine) tells customers that you care about what they have to say, and it allows you to make things right. If you receive a negative review, you must respond positively. A negative review is an opportunity for you to put your best foot forward. Responding with anger or hostility will only cause more damage. Instead, try thanking your reviewer for their feedback and promise to address their concerns.
4) Make it Personal
Even if it’s not your company or product receiving negative reviews, stay tuned in. By paying attention, you’ll learn about problems customers are facing—problems you can solve with your product or service. Don’t let them slip away! Plus, the chances are good that disgruntled customers will share their experiences on more than one platform, which gives you multiple opportunities to reach out and address issues.
5) Learn from it
Don’t dwell on a bad review. Instead, take a moment to reflect on what may have caused it and use it as an opportunity to improve your brand experience for future clients. Read your review in its entirety and look out for any actionable or applicable feedback that can be addressed with prospective clients. For example, if a client says you were late for their appointment, schedule extra time in your calendar from now on so that you don’t keep other customers waiting.
Speaking of good reviews and value-driven brands…have you left us a G2 Review? There you have it—the five-step process to reverse a negative review by flexing your customer service skills and behaving as a value-driven brand. We would love to hear from you.
Even after your customers have had a positive experience with you, they’re often hesitant to leave you feedback. You can use Otter SMS tools to follow up with customers after their experience and ask them directly for a review! The key is that you’re sending them a personal, warm message—which leaves an even better impression than seeing it in your app store. Your review should be genuine, short, and sweet. Make sure not to send spammy messages, which will result in bad reviews.
Also check out our ultimate guide to online reviews for better reputation management.