Five ways to handle negative reviews

Marc Gordon
September 08, 2015
By Marc Gordon
Many businesses live or die by the reviews they receive. The problem is that negative reviews can be unfair, exaggerated or just untrue. And in these cases it's tempting to lash out at the author, resulting in an online war of words.

Next time you get a negative review, refer to these five tips to keep your business looking professional and your reputation intact.

Research the claim. Was it a real customer who wrote the review or just a bitter competitor? Was it honest or just a threat from someone looking for free work? In many cases, if you can prove the review is fake or just an attempt at blackmail, the review site will take it down.

Be thankful. Thank the reviewer for the comments - no matter how negative they are. Tell them you view negative comments as a way to keep striving towards customer service excellence. Let them know that in order to rectify the problem as efficiently as possible, you need to communicate with them offline. Don't allow them to turn it into a public debate.

Be timely and calm. Your silence can appear as guilt or apathy in the eyes of readers. Reply as quickly as possible. Just make sure you're not emotionally charged. Perhaps have someone else write a professional response on your behalf.

Don't be afraid to apologize. Admitting you made a mistake and apologizing for it instantly makes you the better person. The key is asking the reviewer for the opportunity to make things right. If they refuse, it will make them appear as unreasonable.

Ignore the crazies. Many review sites allow contributors to remain anonymous, making it easy for them to write angry things that may not even be relevant or true. Sometimes you just need to ignore them, knowing that they're likely posting negative comments about every business they encounter.

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Marc Gordon is a recognized marketing expert, speaker and strategist. His articles appear in over 200 publications worldwide. Visit marcgordon.ca or his online show at marctv.net for more business tips.

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