In 2018 it’s harder than ever to hide from public opinion, and even harder to ignore what consumers think about your business. The necessary evil of the internet has given everyone who owns a computer, smartphone, or tablet the ability to express their opinion to millions with just a click of a button.

In life and in business you are only as good as your reputation. Engines like Google, Facebook, and Yelp have forced business owners to take notice of their online presence. Online Reviews have created many new challenges to business owners, whether it is getting more reviews, getting positive reviews, or even responding/handling negative reviews.

As much as 54% of Americans who read online reviews indicate that they pay more attention to extremely negative reviews when trying to make decisions. It’s easy to get swept up if you receive a negative review, take it personal, get angry, or think your business will come crumbling to the ground. We have good news: you will survive!

 

Here are 3 ways you can handle those negative reviews like a pro:

1. Don’t take it personally

It’s easy to get rattled by a negative review, after all we’re all human and we have feelings/emotions. The worst thing to do is respond to a review until you take a step away and breathe. One of the worst things you can do is respond out of emotion and not with logic.

Empathy goes a long way. If someone spent money on your service or product and they were not satisfied, try to take a step back and put yourself in their shoes. By using this technique you will have a clearer and stronger response.

2. Be Genuine.

The review might have been negative, but the way you should look at it is that someone cared enough to take the time to review your business. That means the customer is looking for a resolution or is giving you feedback on how to fix an issue. This gives you an opportunity to learn and grow from any mistakes you might have made during the customer experience.

78% of consumers say that hearing from management about their reviews makes them believe the business cares more about them. Whether you truly mean it or not, make sure to always be apologetic when responding to a review. If your approach is professional and shows empathy, future customers will see your response and more likely be impressed by how you handled it. This in turn will reassure them that they would like to do business with you. In addition, be sure to leave a way for them to reach out to you so you can handle this issue offline whenever possible.

3. Respond ASAP.

Whether it’s a positive or negative review, response time matters. When it comes to your fans, responding quickly shows that you are paying attention and really care about all of your customers. For negative reviews, the sooner you respond, the sooner you’ll be able to find a solution and turn a disgruntled customer into an advocate for your business (fingers crossed!). A good rule of thumb to follow is to try your best to respond same day, and your reaction all ties back to how others perceive you online.

Bottom line: Responding to all reviews promptly and positively ultimately leads to a strong reputation.

 

Below, Nice Job provides a great template to follow when responding to negative reviews:

Hello [NAME]

We would like to apologize for your recent experience and sorry to hear you were less than satisfied with [product/service].

We pride ourselves on our [product/service] and the high quality standards we maintain, and would like to make things right.

You can expect a [call/email] from [name] soon to discuss what occurred and how we might make it up to you.

Yours sincerely,
[YOUR FIRST NAME]

Even if you provide the highest quality product or service the world has ever known, there are always going to be haters. A few important things to keep in mind is that a negative review won’t destroy your business. Every mistake is a learning opportunity and customers are a resource to help your business grow. Always strive for those 5 stars, but don’t be afraid of the 1 stars, they don’t bite (too hard). Having a purely 5 star review report card can make it look like you doctored the results, or even worse, paid to rig the system. With any given human endeavor, the flaws are often-times the thing that bridges the trust-gap between business and consumer.

Chad Sajovic

Chad Sajovic

A Chicago native and Purdue University grad, Chad has been living in San Diego for almost 3 years. Chad loves spending time with his wife Emily and their 2 Australian Shepherds (Gizmo and Winnie). When Chad isn’t marketing he is hiking, playing softball, hanging at the beach, and staying on top of his Chicago sports teams.