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How to Deal with Negative Online Reviews
byWebAlive Team / 17 Feb 2015
With the popularity of social media and review websites, businesses are under even more pressure to perform a quality service. While in the old days, an unhappy customer might pass on information to their friends/family about their negative experience with a provider, now there is always the risk they will share it online.
And if it’s online, prospective customers can easily see it and might be turned off.
While you’ll try and provide the same excellent level of service to every customer, there are times when things simply don’t go to plan and you do get a negative review online. The difficult part is that you may have had 50 happy customers before you had one unhappy customer, but it’s usually the unhappy one that will be running to leave a review on your Google Plus, Facebook or other places.
Quite often we hear from clients who are quite upset having received bad feedback. So how do you deal with getting a bad review?
1. Look at it as an opportunity
The first thought that comes into people’s heads when this happens to them is simply to have the comment removed. However it very difficult to have a review website agree to take a comment down, for obvious reasons. If all the negative reviews were taken down, the review website simply wouldn’t be helpful to visitors.
Instead, view this as an opportunity to showcase your customer service and maybe even show readers your side of the story. We wouldn’t recommend pushing your own view too passionately (avoid getting into a fight) but acting professional and suggesting ways that you could make it up to the individual.
If done correctly, you might be able to convince the person (and the others reading the conversation) that you made an honest mistake and hope to be able to make up for it.
2. Make every effort to resolve the problem
Good customer service should be a priority no matter what industry you are operating in.
If someone has a concern about the service provided by your business, you should try to restore the relationship and be polite and mature in all correspondence with the person regardless of their tone. This can win you over customers as it shows that you’re a professional and deal with complaints as such.
3. Try to get positive reviews
Often this is easier said than done, however you should always be encouraging your customers to leave reviews.
Some providers will offer prizes or discounts to those that give feedback to encourage this – there are plenty of ways you can get people to give you feedback and this will significantly reduce the hit you take from having negative reviews coming up from time to time.
Develop a strategy and get creative!
But remember that you should never post fake reviews even though you might be tempted to. Review websites usually have a complex algorithm that is very difficult to fool and some businesses have paid the prices of doing so.
4. Start getting feedback
Good service is all about communication and this is true even after the service has been provided. If you do have the time, consider contacting your customers and make sure they are happy – this can actually reduce the likelihood that they will leave a bad review if they are unhappy.
You’re better off taking care of any tensions and/or making up for a mistake before they get on review websites.
5. Learn from the experience
Even negative feedback is good in some ways because it helps you learn from mistakes and improve over time.
If you’re committed to providing the best possible service and making the business successful, a negative review should be of great interest to you – rather than taking it personally and getting stressed, you can use it as motivation to improve.
A lot of negative reviews will actually say more about the customer than it will about your service. Perhaps they were having a bad day and took it out on you?
Sometimes you can do everything right and still cop a terrible review.
WebAlive is one of the Australia's oldest and most respected digital agencies. We specialise in website design, ecommerce and app development. With over 12+ years of experience we have established ourselves as a trusted and efficient agency empowering businesses of all sizes with bespoke solutions.