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How to Handle Negative Reviews

When you come across a negative review for your business, it can be really jarring, so much so that it may even appear to be an emergency situation. But, you can turn off the alarms, because a negative review can be turned around to actually help your business. In this blog, we’ll explore negative reviews, why they happen and how you can make them a good thing.

Why do people leave negative reviews?

In order to understand the benefit of negative reviews, we first need to understand why people leave them in the first place. Of course, there are tons of reasons a person would feel the need to do so, but you can almost always bet it’s for the sake of others, to receive financial reimbursement or to get some sort of response from the business owners.

To protect others

Often, people believe that the entire purpose of leaving reviews is to help others decide whether or not they want to give a business their money. This drives people to leave negative reviews, sometimes even for minor issues, if they feel they didn’t get their money’s worth from whatever service you provided.

For financial reimbursement

Speaking of getting your money’s worth, lots of people will leave reviews because they feel that it will get your attention and result in financial reimbursement. Whether or not that’s something they should actually get should obviously be taken on a case-by-case basis.

To get a response

Whether it be the aforementioned financial reimbursement or simply an apology, many people won’t be satisfied until they get a response to their negative reviews. Responding properly to a review can make all the difference when it comes to customer retention and reviews.


What makes negative reviews a good thing?

Criticism can always be constructive, whether it starts out that way or you have to twist it into positive change. A negative review doesn’t have to be a death sentence, and it can absolutely be turned into a positive thing for your business. From showing potential customers that the worst that could happen isn’t all that bad to giving you an opportunity to improve your business, they can be a tremendous force for good regarding your business’s reputation.

They represent the worst-case scenario

One thing that is often taken for granted about bad reviews is that they give your customers a glimpse into what it means for the worst to happen with your business. Knowing those possibilities can put your customers at ease and also demonstrates how easily fixable problems are. If your worst is better than that of your competitors, you come out on top.

They lead to informed purchasing choices

If your customers get to see both the good and bad of your business, they become empowered to make the best purchasing decisions. If they’re making the best purchasing decision by choosing your business the first time, they are more likely to come back to you time and time again.

They legitimize you

Too many positive reviews can seem suspicious and come across as fake. Because we know that buying fake reviews is a bad idea, it’s simple logic and safe to assume that when legitimate reviews come across as fake, it’s bad news. By letting your customers see that everything isn’t perfect all the time, you build trust with your customers.

They provide opportunity

“Facing it, always facing it, that’s the way to get through. Face it.”

That’s a quote from novelist, Joseph Conrad. This is great advice when it comes to responding to reviews. It is vital to always respond to negative reviews not only so that people can see how dedicated your team is to doing right by your customers, but so that you can hopefully retain the customer who left the negative review. Beyond that, any criticism your business receives can help your business to improve.


How to approach negative reviews

So, what’s next after receiving a bad review? Well, you aren’t going to be surprised by what we have to say — it’s all about reputation management. By carving out a good reputation management plan for your business, you can overcome any bad review.

Come up with a gameplan

The best thing you can do when receiving a negative review is to analyze the situation, figure out a course of action and decide how to approach the same situation going forward. If there is a way to respond to your poor review with a solution, focus on that. If there isn’t, make sure that being apologetic and genuine is at the forefront of your mind.

In times like these, think “the customer is always right, but maybe we can reach a middle ground.” It is okay to defend your business. As long as you approach it with customer service in mind and the focus falls on correcting information and not fighting, you are completely within your right to challenge any negative reviews that come your way.

Focus on reputation management

Offense is the best defense. By creating an impenetrable reputation, you can effectively shield your business from the negative effects of bad reviews while still enjoying the positive benefits.

Give your happy customers just as much attention as you would give the unhappy ones. Focus on your business's social media presence and make sure to encourage your customers to leave reviews.

Turn negative reviews into positives and build a strong reputation with the Marketing 360® Reputation app. See our plans and pricing.

Originally published on Top Rated Local®