Bad online reviews? Here is What you Should Do

Advertising your business using SEO and social media is necessary, but it also opens your business to criticism, especially with rating and review websites such as Yelp, Google Reviews, Amazon, Angie’s List, Facebook Reviews, TripAdvisor, etc. With these review sites acting as the new word of mouth, it’s especially important to have a strong digital reputation.

Despite your best efforts to provide stellar service, someone might post a bad review of your business. Negative reviews attached to your business listings could hurt not only your reputation but also your bottom line. According to Online Reviews Report by Review Trackers, 94 percent of customers say an online review has convinced them to avoid business, and 80 percent of consumers don’t trust businesses with ratings lower than 4 stars.

If you do get a bad review, however, it’s not the end of the world for your online reputation. These are the ways to respond to a negative review and hopefully turn it into an opportunity to use your brand’s voice, right your wrongs and deliver a positive experience for current and potential customers. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Respond quickly.

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to negative reviews. It’s important to be active and responsive on review sites to remedy the problem quickly and show potential customers you care about their experience and work to resolve issues as they arise.

When someone writes a bad review, they want to hear from your business promptly. According to the Online Reviews Report, 53.3 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to their online review within seven days. Just think of it as similar to someone contacting your company via phone: the response should be immediate.

2. Offer a solution or next course of action.

The reviewer reached out for a reason, and it’s most likely to have their problem resolved. If you can’t solve the issue in the public response, which is most likely the case, then it’s best to take the conversation offline through a direct message or a phone call. Invite the customer to call, or better yet, call the customer to resolve the issue.

If you can resolve the problem, consider offering to make it right by asking them to give your business another try, if possible, or in extreme cases even offering a freebie. If the reviewer takes you up on your offer, then make sure you ask them to reconsider their review if the do-over is to their satisfaction.

3. Empathize.

Let the customer know you’ve heard their complaints and you understand their frustration. Don’t get defensive because that will only escalate matters. Try to make up for the mistake – even if it’s the customer’s fault. However, you don’t need to go into the details in the public forum. Simply acknowledging the issue in question and offering next steps should suffice.

4. Be authentic.

You don’t want customers to feel like they aren’t being heard, or – even worse – they are talking to an automated machine. Let the customer know you are being heard and personalize the response to the customer and the review.

With the expectation of quick, authentic responses, it’s a good idea to have someone dedicated to monitoring and responding to the reviews – even after business hours and on weekends. This can be customer service team members, the marketing team or the business owner.

5. Be polite.

Receiving negative reviews is a very frustrating experience, and you must fight the urge to respond defensively. Be polite and consider that the person behind the computer might have other problems in their life that aggravate the issue with your company. Although customers might expect a quick response, it might be wise to take a deep breath and research the problem before responding.

Although bad reviews can be frustrating, keep in mind they give you the opportunity to show how your business delivers great customer service in a public forum. Always keep both current and future customers in mind when responding to a bad review.

If your business is struggling with negative reviews, our team at Traffic Jams can help. Give us a call for more information at 855-599-3999 or email

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