Best Practices: Managing Negative Customer Reviews


Negative reviews can seem like a personal attack on your business’s integrity.  Yet handled appropriately, online criticism can be turned around and used to promote your business.

In this article, you’ll find helpful tips and best practices for handling negative reviews posted by your customers.

Do respond constructively to negative reviewers

First of all, don’t take it personally, When someone posts a negative review, show that you care by trying to address the issue promptly – and in a public way. It doesn’t matter where the fault lies, all that matters that the customer feels appreciated and that other potential customers see how well you deal with issues.

To give an example, if the individual had a bad customer service experience, apologize on the review site, preferably as a response to the bad review.  If the issue is still outstanding, show that you are taking steps to resolve it.  Savvy review readers go straight for the bad reviews so they can see how the business handles criticism, so a polished and professional response to a bad review can actually earn you brownie points!

Do provide calm, factual rebuttals to people who have an axe to grind

When someone levels false accusations or unfairly maligns your business, respond calmly and factually to the situation.  Never accuse the customer of anything, keep your tone neutral, and above all – demonstrate respect.  Show the steps you have taken to investigate the situation and describe your findings truthfully.  If there is some element of truth to the accusation, admit it, but also demonstrate the errors in the accusation.  Customers don’t expect you to be perfect, but they expect you to recover gracefully when there is an issue.  If you have old reviews, it is NEVER TOO LATE to respond and show transparency.

Do stick to the facts and leave out subjective comments

Avoid the temptation to embellish or leave out facts that don’t support your side of the story.  Honesty, even if you are partially at fault, is more likely to win over people reading your reviews than questionable excuses.  Nothing reflects worse on a business than insincere response that looks like it’s trying to sweep issues under the rug.  “Canned Responses” are never a good idea either.

Don’t pick a fight

Arguing or fighting with a reviewer is arguable on of the worst things you can do to your business’s reputation.  Avoid accusing – or implying – that the reviewer is lying.  Avoid curt retorts, sarcasm, and snobby language.  Don’t post a rant or vent your frustration.  All of these reflect poorly on you and give you the negative reviewer the upper hand.  If you really can’t respond in a constructive way, then it’s best to keep it short and sweet to simply acknowledge the fact that the customer took the time to write a review.

Don’t ask customers to take down negative reviews

Even though you’ve appeased the situation, asking to have the review removed can renew the customer’s anger.  They may interpret your request as an attempt to buy them off, which could motivate them to post further negative comments.  You should never ask customers to write anything other than their honest, heartfelt opinions.

Don’t threaten reviewers with legal action

In the rare event that a disgruntled former employee or unscrupulous competitor levels a concerted smear campaign against your business, you might possibly have grounds for legal action (talk o your lawyer; we can’t provide you with legal advice).  In the vast majority of cases, however, reviews fall clearly under free speech protections and any threats you may will almost certainly be met with a flood of additional negative reviews.

ChartLocal can help:

-Burry negative reviews by strategically collecting new reviews on a particular site

-Catch negative reviews before they are posted online for the world to see

-Monitor your online reputation and listen for new reviews, 24-7, sending you email alerts when new reviews are posted

-Get fraudulent reviews removed from Google, Facebook, Yelp and more.

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Advice content sourced from the experts at Reputation . com