The best way to deal with a bad online review, as I’m sure you already know, does not involve getting into a public slanging match.
More than likely you are angry or hurt at receiving such feedback but taking the emotion out of the situation and keeping things in perspective is the path you should look to take.
Perhaps a customer didn’t get as good a service as normal or a minor mistake has been overplayed. In any case you feel the review is unfair, wrong and even defamatory.
So what to do about it? Here’s a few tips on what to do with a bad website review.
In life there will always be someone who will complain, someone you can’t please or someone who will go out of their way to try and cause mischief. And one or two negative reviews when you have other perfectly good reviews are not going to ruin your business, whatever you think. Even the best of restaurants and hotels, for example, will have less than favourable reviews from time to time but it doesn’t stop people repeatedly using them.
If you suspect it is a fake review rather than a genuine customer with a grievance then by all means contact the review website it is hosted on who should be able to confirm whether it is a genuine review or not. If not, then you might be able to get it removed.
Also check the guidelines of the review website as if someone has named you or identified you or shown sexist or racist language, the review might be removed because of that. So your first stop is to see if the review meets the guidelines on the review website.
If someone has a genuine complaint you might want to fire back straightaway to defend your reputation but it is best to cool down and take stock. Often most negative content is quickly forgotten about and as time goes on will be extremely hard for anyone other than the most determined searcher to find.
If you do respond
If you feel you are left with no option but to respond then keep it short and simple and do not use emotional language. Avoid being defensive or making accusations and try and be as open and honest as possible.
Anyone can make a mistake or fall below their standards on occasions so don’t be afraid to admit it and apologise. If you feel the reviewer is wrong, say there has clearly been a misunderstanding and say you would welcome the chance to make amends. Adopt a friendly and helpful tone and avoid heavy corporate speak.
Avoid referring to the issue on your own website as this will only highlight a customer’s attention to the negative information. In reality many potential customers don’t check out the companies they buy from so it is unlikely clients will even be aware of the negative feedback.
Never ask someone to take down their review
Resist the urge to ask or influence someone in to taking down their review as this could well backfire. Instead, deal with the problem in a helpful and positive manner, which will instead put you in a favourable light and may even lead to the person to taking down the review.
Focus on building a positive online profile
It is best to concentrate on creating positive information about you on the internet which in turn will help burying any bad reviews. For example, you can ask happy customers to write a good review which will help will push the negative review lower down in a search so it is less noticeable.
Avoid getting into rows on social media
If someone makes a negative comment it is best not to engage publicly. Responding in such a way will only serve to highlight the initial complaint. Otherwise, see if you can privately message that person where you may want to suggest a time to call – making sure you maintain the calm and helpful approach advised above. Remember that anything written down can become public so be careful what you write.