How should you deal with bad reviews online?

Recently I was engaged on a LinkedIn thread that questioned what to do with the negative reviews that your business may receive. Yes, this happens a lot these days. Just Google a business that you like and you will find something bad. So how do you as a business deal with this? I am going to explain that you here.

Why bad reviews matter?

In terms of your brand name, reviews can destroy or make your business depending which way they swing. I have seen it firsthand where a few bad reviews actually hurt a business pretty badly and it was a mission to try and remedy that solution. Remember people trust what others say about your business, it’s digital word of mouth and can have a serious impact if not handled correctly.

Nowadays there are so many platforms where a user can leave a review that it is nearly impossible to keep up with all of them and what makes it worse is that a lot of the sites, Facebook or Hellopeter generally have a lot of authority which will allow the particular review to rank very well when it comes to your brand name in search. This is the concern. How much coverage that bad review can gets just sitting there in searches for your name.

So how do you deal with bad reviews?

Firstly, you need to assess whether this review is a real review or if it is a marketer trying to taint your brand. Unfortunately, there are a few marketers that resort to this tactic so that people will go to their client instead. Personally I believe this is unethical but it happens.

Once you have established whether it’s real or not, engage with the customer. Their review is probably ranking and if anyone is searching for you will come across it so the second step would be to engage with the person.

Find out what you can do to remedy the problem and make them feel important. Essentially you want to be seen as the business who cares. Who knows maybe their concerns are really valid and could help you better your product or service.

Once the above is done you will be able to leverage this review for a campaign that is geared towards the solution to helping your customer. They will feel important and probably see you in a better light and stay loyal because you took them seriously rather just being another business who ignores them. You took the time to solve their immediate problem.

What I wouldn’t recommend

It is pretty simply to turn anything bad into a positive if you take the time to deal with the problem but if you try to ignore it or push it under the rug it will come back. So whatever you do please don’t try to push it down to page two.

It’s a futile exercise because more often than not they have chosen a site that ranks very well. They have chosen a site that has more authority than yours. Essentially this means that it will take a lot of effort to push them down. It is far easier to engage.

Take your customers seriously. It’s more important to keep their loyalty and trust than to lose them forever.

What happens if it is a marketer trying to taint my business?

I know I said you shouldn’t try outrank a review, but if the review is a fake you may not have a choice. If you have engaged and tried to remedy the solution but there is no real feedback or you can clearly see that it is a fake comment, then try and outrank it.

I would also suggest running a campaign that targets their review specifically. This can be a really positive tactic because not only will you put the marketer down but you will also show your consumers that you take reviews seriously and that they matter to you. Isn’t that all that matters? Satisfying customers?

On a side note, you could also offer your customer a reward, apology gift or discount. Make it worth their while and they will probably brag about it on social which again will boost your customer base and loyalty.

Just remember that they took the time to review your business. So whether it is good or bad, take the time to thank them and remedy the solution. Just because it is online doesn’t mean personal connections are dead.



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