6 Tips to Deal With Negative Online Reviews
Today I’m going to give you six different tips on how to deal with negative online reviews. We live in a day and age where online reviews pretty much rule everything. I mean if you are gonna visit a restaurant and you have the option between a restaurant that has a ton of online reviews and a restaurant that doesn’t have any reviews chances are you’re going to be visiting the latter only because it seems to have a lot of online reviews. It has much more of a social presence that are people that are going there. This impacts consumers behaviors. I mean think about Amazon. When you’re making a purchase on Amazon a product that has a bunch of reviews even if it may not necessarily be high ranking reviews is an indication that there are people that are purchasing that product, which therefore influences you and then you end up buying it. I do the exact same thing.
As an entrepreneur you have to be prepared for the possibility that you may and you will probably get some negative online reviews. It’s part of the business. It’s par for the course. As an entrepreneur it isn’t a question of if you will get a negative online review but more a question of when.
No one bats 1000%, and the more successful you are, the more volume your business does, the greater the chances of you getting a negative online review.
That’s just part of the business. It’s par for the course. So, what do you do when you get that on that negative online review? How do you respond? I’m gonna give you six tips on how to respond.
When I got my first negative online review I was upset. You’re probably going to be upset and your first instinct is to go and defend yourself because we all feel like as entrepreneurs we’re doing the best job that we can. You will feel that you probably did everything that you could to keep that client happy and to keep that client satisfied, so the normal instinct is to want to go into defend mode, and for some of us we go into attack mode and we want to refute the online review, but keep in mind that every customer is entitled to their right to have an opinion of what that experience was like, so you can’t take it personal when someone feels that they had a negative experience with your service, with your business, or with your staff. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to feel how they felt.
Chances are you’ve read a few other blogs or you’ve seen a few other videos from online guru’s telling you that you don’t have to respond to every single negative review that is posted on your profile page. I think a little differently. I’m not saying that you have to refute every negative online review that is there but I think that it’s important to at least acknowledge that online review took place. You want to give that person the opportunity to at least feel like what they were expressing is at bare minimum being heard by the decision-maker, by the owner of the establishment, by the agent who represented them, so it’s very important in my opinion that you do respond to every one of these negative reviews. I’m not saying that you have to go on there and give them a huge explanation. I’m not suggesting that you have this long drawn-out timeline or series of events. That’s not what I’m suggesting that you do, but at least acknowledge that you’re reading their their online negative review.
In my humble opinion, I am going to say that I do recommend that we respond to all of the negative online reviews that you may get, and that you do address them and at least let the person making that review know that you’re ready and that you’re going to address it. As an entrepreneur as your business succeeds, as your business grows, with the more volume that you do it isn’t a question of will you get a negative online review but more a question of when, and here’s the thing. Human beings relate to other human beings and we can relate to making a mistake. We can relate to people screwing up. In fact, I would venture to say that we can relate to people making a mistake more than we can relate to people who become successful, because we all know that human beings are imperfect by nature and we make mistakes.
Everybody loves a good comeback story, and so here’s the deal. People understand that you can make a mistake. Now, if the mistake is intentional and the mistake is happening on a regular basis then there’s something that needs to be modified in your business model, and that’s not what I’m suggesting. I’m not giving you a hall pass to do the same thing over and over and over again. I wouldn’t give myself that same hall pass, but I am going to say that people get it. They understand. So, maybe you were having an off day as a business owner. Maybe you weren’t going too fast reviewing contracts. Maybe something slipped your mind. It’s okay. People can understand it. They can relate with it. They can appreciate it if you own up to it, and that is why I am going to suggest that we respond to the negative online reviews to at least acknowledge the fact that hey maybe we were having a bad day. Maybe we did make a mistake, and then figure out how we’re gonna fix that a little bit later on.
Tip number #1
Own up to it. You got a man up. You got to woman up. You got to do whatever you got to do to make sure that you take responsibility for what took place or for what happened that resulted in that negative online review. Now, look some of you are going to have staff. Your staff, they are a direct extension of you. They are a representation of you. They are a representation of your quality, and so if they’re not doing too good of a job – listen – it’s not the staffs fault. Whose fault is it? It’s you as the business owner. That just comes with the territory so take responsibility for your staff. Take responsibility for your team. Take responsibility for yourself when a mistake is made. Acknowledge it. Apologize for it and figure out how we’re gonna fix it. Take responsibility. Don’t go shifting the responsibility to somebody else. Don’t go blaming somebody else. Just admit that it probably wasn’t handled the way it should have been handled, and here’s how we’re gonna correct it next time so that it doesn’t happen to another customer, another client, another patron that comes in.
Tip number #2
Apologize. The customer isn’t always right and a good entrepreneur, a good business owner, a good agent, can still make the customer feel like they’re right even after correcting them, so the customer may not always be right but the customer should always feel like they are right, and so it’s very important as an entrepreneur that you learn how to take responsibility and that you apologize for what took place, and far too often I see people who go on on a tirade trying to respond to a negative online review by telling the customer why something took place or why they reacted the way that they reacted, and really that doesn’t do anything. All that does – that’s like throwing kerosene on a flame and you’re making the situation worse. It’s far better for you to simply just say, we’re sorry. It wasn’t handled the right way. My staff, they’re an extension of me. I apologize for the way that they treated you. Your meal wasn’t necessarily right I apologize for that. As the business owner that’s my fault. As the agent that’s my fault that we missed that checkbox on that contract. I apologize. We’ll correct it so that it doesn’t happen again. Tip number two, apologize.
Tip number #3
Keep it short. Look, I alluded to it a short while ago. You don’t need to have a long drawn-out explanation about why something happened or why you reacted the way you reacted. There’s no need for that. All you want to do is you want to own up to it, you want to apologize, and maybe give some details again on how you’re gonna make it right so that it doesn’t happen again, and I appreciate that you as the entrepreneur may not have been in the wrong. You may have done everything that you were supposed to do, and you may have done everything right as far as you were concerned, but at the end of the day it’s all about the way the client, the customer, the patron felt, and you’re not going to change the way they felt so at least empathize with them, and don’t make matters worse by writing out you know a whole declaration of what happened. Just keep it short.
Tip number #4
Treat negative online reviews as an opportunity for you to learn how to improve. It’s very easy as an entrepreneur for you to get defensive write over a negative online review. I get it. I felt the same way. Sometimes, let me tell you I really want to dig into some of the reviews that come in, and I’m not saying that they come in often but every once in a while you’ll get a review from someone that you really went out of your way for, you work extra hours for, you invested extra time and you invested extra money in and you know what you did everything that you could to keep that customer satisfied and they still threw you under the bus. It happens. Sorry. It is what it is. What I want you to do is to treat any negative online review as an opportunity for you to take a look at your business model and to analyze what could you have done differently, or what can you do differently so that you can learn from this and improve on it as well.= Stop looking at negative online reviews as something really really bad and start using them as tools to improve your business.
Tip number #5
Be transparent with your team about the reviews. Look, as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, whatever you might be. Your staff knows about the reviews. They’ve seen them. They’ve they know about it, so by you not acknowledging them and discussing them with the team you’re not doing anything else but hurting the the company culture, the team. You’re hurting yourself, so when you get a negative online review it’s very important that you acknowledge it with your team, with your staff, whatever it might be you discuss it you figure out how to correct it so that it doesn’t happen again and then you come up with a game plan right now it’s also important that if it was a member of your team or a member of your staff that caused the negative online review that you at least discuss it with that person in particular or persons and figure out what went wrong so that they don’t make that same mistake and so that it doesn’t become a repetitive pattern but again don’t just ignore them make sure you acknowledge them make sure you review them and make sure that you have your team take responsibility for them when it was a mistake that they make all right and keep in mind just to go back to what I said earlier if it is your team that made that mistake ultimately that falls on your shoulders so it’s still your mistake handling
Tip number #6
Win the customer back. If the customer leaves a negative online review and you acknowledge it, you respond to it, you take responsibility for it, and you apologize for it I’m going to suggest that you then reach out to that consumer privately – not out in the open and make them some type of a concession. Make them some type of an offer so that you can win that client back. There have been many times where customers, clients, patrons, will go onto a site make a negative review only to then return a few days later to change their online review and talk about how it was corrected and how they were eventually satisfied with the final outcome of what took place, but that’s not gonna happen if you don’t reach out to that consumer.
So, most of these online review sites like Yelp or Google or even Facebook give you the opportunity to message that consumer directly. I would suggest that when you respond to their negative online review that you acknowledge that you’re going to send them a private message to try to correct what took place so that that way you’re not airing out exactly what you’re going to do out in the open. If you’re going to give someone a 20% off coupon, or a coupon for a free lunch, or whatever it might be as a result of that negative online review you don’t want the rest of the world seeing that all I have to do is post a negative online review and I’m gonna get a free meal.
The best thing to do is to again own it, acknowledge it, apologize, and then you let them know that you’re going to send them a private message trying to make some type of a amends to what took place with that negative online review. I hope this blogs helps you out. I hope that you found it valuable, and if you did do me a favor and share your experience in the comments below. Let me know what you’ve done or some best practices that I might have missed. In addition to that, please make sure that you also share this blog with other people, especially entrepreneurs that you think can benefit from the content that we’re creating and curating for you. I hope you’re well. I’ll talk to you guys soon.