What to do About Negative Reviews About Your Business
Contrary to the infamous saying, “all press is good press,” most businesses would prefer not to have bad press or negative reviews concerning their company. Criticisms toward the business you have poured your entire heart, soul, and life savings into can sting and even feel personal. Nonetheless, if you own a business, you are bound to receive a few negative reviews. The question is, what can you do about them? Below are five steps to address these reviews.
1. Solve Issues Before Customers Go Online
The best way to address negative reviews is to prevent them in the first place. Before customers leave the meeting, restaurant, or other business establishments, try to address the bad experience they had. If you can tell as a business owner or employee that a customer is clearly disgruntled, you should consider apologizing right there while offering to fix the problem. This will ensure that you did everything you could to change the circumstance before it goes online.
2. Keep Calm & Acknowledge the Review
Unaddressed reviews look just as bad as the negative reviews themselves, so it is important to handle the issue as soon as it arises. By leaving it unaddressed, potential new customers may wonder why you haven’t responded, which will affect their purchasing decisions. While responding, make sure to sound calm and benevolent. Even if you are in the right on the issue, it is better to avoid appearing argumentative or defensive. It is never a good idea to threaten a lawsuit or other negative repercussions to try and force them to remove the review. Other customers will be watching this virtual interaction, and they will take note of your reply.
3. Be Sincere
When responding to a customer’s outrage online, you do not want to sound like an automated message. People can easily see through a canned response, which will only make the disgruntled customer angrier. Be authentic and personal when crafting a reply – this might mean adding your name and job title - so the customer knows there is a real person behind the screen. Emphasizing your business’ history and core values will help show that you are committed to maintaining that level of excellence.
4. Take the Issue Offline
If the situation escalates even when your response is calm and sincere, then offering an in-person discussion or assistance can be a good idea. Providing an alternate way to contact, such as email and phone number, shows the customer that you care about the situation and are committed to truly resolve it.
5. Use as a Learning Experience
At the end of the day, you want to feel confident knowing you gave your best effort and services to the customer. In the off chance that something goes awry and there is a negative review, after trying your best to resolve the situation, the only thing left to do is to learn from the experience. Consider using the criticism as a constructive way to better your business and team. After all, there is always room for improvement!
Online reviews determine consumers’ decisions while purchasing a product 67.7% of the time. Online reviews truly affect how consumers view your business. They may undermine the business's reputation and drive potential customers away, causing a decrease in profitability and overall revenue. It is crucial to address negative reviews in a professional manner. If the situation becomes defamatory or abusive against your business or an employee and goes beyond criticism to outright harmful behavior, it may be helpful to consult with a business attorney to know your rights and how best to proceed.
DYE CULIK PC is a Charlotte, North Carolina small business and franchise law firm. Our attorneys have represented small businesses for more than a decade, for everything from starting a business, to buying or selling a business, or even disputes and litigation with competitors, employees, and customers. Give us a call at 980-999-3557 if you need help or legal advice for your small business. Follow us on Instagram for the latest updates on CLT small businesses.