SEO Part 2: Dealing with negative reviews

Just like with any other aspect of life, there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with negative reviews. The sad fact is that it is unlikely that you will be in business for years without ever getting a single negative review. In reality you will probably get at least a few.

The key is to deal with these reviews in a productive manner.

One thing you should never do…

Never respond to the complaint while you are angry. In fact, the angrier you feel, the longer you should wait to respond just to be on the safe side. Absolutely nothing will do your business more damage than responding in anger to a reviewer. Others will see it and your good reputation will have gone out the window.

If you are going to be responding online, you need to write several drafts of what you are going to say. Don’t just sit down at the computer and write off the top of your head, that is how you offend people. You need to weight your words and make sure they are friendly and your willingness to make things right is made clear.

If you would like a well-known example of people doing the opposite than what they should in responding to reviews, look no further than Amy’s Baking Company. Seriously, go look them up, it was a really good learning tool for other businesses.

What you should do instead…

It is always vital that you be calm and find out as much as you can about the complaint. It is always important for you to find out if there is a basis for it so that you can do what you can to rectify the problem.

If you think about it, bad reviews aren’t the worst thing that can happen in that they show you what aspects of your business need work. As long as you correct the problem, you could end up with an even more successful business than you ever dreamed possible. All thanks to that negative online review.

One thing to keep in mind is that only about 1 in 20 people who have had a bad experience will bother to leave a bad review. That means, where there is smoke there may be fire. One bad review could be indicative of a larger problem. This is something you will have to evaluate and judge for yourself after speaking to the complainant.

Which leads us to the next point which is to always respond to the reviews with kindness, patience and the willingness to make things right.

When you make contact

Nothing is more important than the way you conduct yourself when you get in contact with the person who left you that bad review. Nothing.

You need to be patient, friendly, open and willing to fix things for the better. This means that when they are talking about what happened, even if they are angry, you listen to them without interrupting. Then ask whatever questions you need to in order to truly understand what went wrong.

Next, tell them how you are going to fix the problem to make sure it doesn’t happen to more customers. You should also offer them something to make up for their hassles. It could be a gift card, a discount, a free estimate, it all depends on what services or products you offer. The important thing is that the person see you are sorry for their bad experience and you are dedicated to solving the issue.

That is how to turn someone from an enemy to a friend of your business.