You’re a business owner. You have invested more than money and time in your business. You are emotionally vested in it.
And then it happens.
That black mark on your glowing reputation.
You’ve received a bad online review.
It may seem like your world is going to come crashing in around you. That your beloved loyal customers are going to disappear. That your business is doomed.
Here’s what you need to do when you see that negative online review.
Take a deep breath. Don’t throw in the towel. Let’s take a moment and put this into perspective.
Unfortunately, there’s no way around bad online reviews. They’re going to happen despite your best efforts, but as long as you’re doing what you should, these reviews will be few and far between. And the good online reviews are going to far outweigh the negative.
Don’t take it personally. You can’t please everyone.
If this really has you worked into a knot, take a few minutes to collect yourself. Try some yoga or take a walk. Physical activity can be calming and will help you clear your head.
Consider if there is any truth in it
Now that you’re in a better state of mind, it’s time to take a closer look at the criticism.
Who is writing the review? Is there any merit to it?
Most negative online reviews are nothing more than the customer feeling they should be put before other customers. When people read these, they are as aware of that as you are and it doesn’t reflect poorly on you.
As long as you getting more positive feedback than critical, you’re still in the clear.
However, if you are receiving several negative reviews about the same thing or if your negative reviews are tallying anywhere near the same amount as the positive ones, then it is definitely time to reevaluate the way you are doing business.
Is your customer service what it should be? Are your employees educated in what they’re doing? Is your turnaround time reasonable?
Use this an opportunity to improve your business.
Zero to hero
You may not have realized it in those first agonizing moments of discovering negative online reviews, but these customers have given you a gift.
You now have the opportunity to fix this problem.
And if you do it well, you might just earn yourself a customer who is loyal to your business not because they think you’re perfect, but because they know you’ll do whatever it takes to make it right.
This is called the service recovery paradox.
Fixing the problem
Fixing the problem is only half of the solution in this case.
Those bad online reviews are up for everyone to see. Your resolution should be too.
Respond to negative reviews, but don’t try to defend your business or argue with the customer.
Thank them for making you aware of the problem. Apologize for the inconvenience. Tell them how you have addressed the situation. And then, and this is important, invite them to come back to your business.
Keep in mind that some of these people will never come back. And that’s okay. Learn what you can from the experience and work toward positive online reviews in the future.