Online Reputation Management: How Do You Respond to a Bad Review?

reputation management concept

According to online media consumer research by BIA/Kelsey, 97 percent of consumers read online reviews of local businesses. Other studies further suggest that online reviews, both negative and positive, influence consumer’s buying decisions.

Because buyers rely on online reviews for their purchasing decisions, a bad review can negatively affect your product and brand. Consumers usually look for dependability and reliability in a brand; they want to know if the purchase is worth the money they would spend.

Receiving a bad review from an unsatisfied customer does the complete opposite of your goal and could make your business appear untrustworthy. If this happens to you, what do you do? How do you respond to negative business reviews?

Responding to Negative Online Reviews

One negative review is easy to manage. When it increases, and your company becomes a victim of black hat internet marketing tactics, online marketing services in your locality can help you rebuild your reputation. Otherwise, you can do damage control by responding to the bad reviews one by one.

The following are ways you can respond to negative reviews about your business without putting your company in a bad light.

  • Keep your calm and look at it objectively

Reading bad reviews about your products, services, and business can be jarring. You might feel like the review is too much or that your product was misjudged. But you have to remember that in every business, the customer is always right. So don’t act on your emotions impulsively and stay calm.

Look at the negative review objectively. What is the customer complaining about? Is it something you can fix? Trace the root of the problem and see what you can do. Don’t reply to the review with seething words and accusing the customer of being wrong. Keep calm and approach the problem objectively.

  • Reach out to the customer and apologize

The next step you should do after assessing the problem is to reach out to the customer and apologize, especially if the problem was something you could have handled better. You can reach the customer via phone call or a personal email to tell them you acknowledge the problem and apologize for it.

Reaching out to your customers lets them know you care and that your business has accountability for all of your products and services. Taking responsibility for bad reviews and subpar service sends the message to your current clients and potential consumers that you’re a trustworthy company.

Apologizing, on the other hand, shows humility and sincerity in trying to solve the problem. Your customer would appreciate a sincere apology from you after what they felt and experienced.

  • Find out what’s wrong and offer a solution

After apologizing, you need to find out what went wrong and provide a solution for your customer. Are they upset that you’ve delivered the wrong shoe size? Did they receive a different color than what they ordered? Make amends and rectify any mistakes as soon as you can.

The quicker you act on a problem, the faster you can appease your customer and gain back their trust. Customers post bad reviews because there was something they didn’t like. Trace the root of the problem and fix it, so they will have no more reason to be upset.

  • Ask them to take it down or write a new review

Businessman working on tablet with REVIEW on a screen

After resolving the problem and making it up to your customer, request them to take down the review. Since you’ve made amends, it’s only fair that they remove the bad review, or update it to tell others that you’ve solved the problem. In some cases, if your customer is willing, you can ask them to write a new review regarding their experience with your troubleshooting.

Reviews have an impact on your reputation online. It is inevitable for businesses to receive negative feedback from unsatisfied customers online. How you respond to the reviews will spell the difference between your business’ continued success and its eventual downfall. When you reach out to customers, apologize, and find out how you can make amends, some of them will be more than willing to put in kind words for you. Business is all about taking care of your customers; it always makes sense to put them first.

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