Online reviews provide a forum for customers to share their experiences with a business. Which is outstanding if you have positive reviews, but if customers are posting bad reviews it can hurt your business.
You can’t remove bad reviews from online review sites like Yelp and Google; and you shouldn’t want to! Trying to remove bad reviews, no matter how untrue or unfair they are, shows that you aren’t able to take criticism. It also makes it look like you aren’t willing to be honest and open about your company. Instead of trying to get bad reviews removed, learn how to respond to them.
Use the following tips to respond to bad reviews.
Apologize to the Reviewers for a Bad Experience
You never want your customers to have a bad interaction with your business, but eventually it’s bound to happen. When you are responding to reviews the best thing you can do is acknowledge your customer’s dissatisfaction and apologize for it. This doesn’t mean you are taking all the blame for the situation. You’re just apologizing that they didn’t enjoy your services. A simple, “I’m so sorry you had a bad experience.” shows that you care about your customers.
Nothing turns the mood from anger to understanding quicker than seeing a small business owner show humility. A simple apology can help you change the mind of a disgruntled customer, or (and perhaps better yet) it can change the mind of a new customer who saw that despite a customer’s bad experience the business owner went out of their way to try to right the situation.
Address Specific Points of Bad Reviews
Have you ever been in an argument where the person you’re arguing with just keeps listing things you’ve done that upset them? That’s basically what’s happening when people are reviewing your business online. They’re mad about something and boy, do they let you know what went wrong!
When a reviewer starts to list the ways you’ve upset them, start taking notes. These points will give you concrete issues to address in your response. Try to address each point that your reviewer mentioned. In your response, you’ll want to do the following things:
- Thank your reviewer for letting you know where issues are in your business.
- Let the reviewer know how you are, or are planning, to address the issue.
- Explain what may have caused the issue and again, explain how you plan to fix it.
- Offer an olive branch. This doesn’t mean you need to pay them back for their bad experience, but offer to have them visit your business again and give you a second chance.
- Give the reviewer a way to reach you. This shows that you are sincere in wanting to fix their bad experience.
Try to Resolve the Issue
Bad reviews can easily offend small business owners. Especially, when that review is unfair or a down right lie. However, if you can change your perspective and take the bad review as constructive criticism, then you can change a bad reviews into an opportunity to improve your business. If the reviewer mentioned a legitimate issue within your business, you must take their advice and make a change.
Like we mentioned in the previous point, you need to tell your customers how you are addressing their concerns. This validates the customer and lets him or her know that you are always striving to improve. When a customer sees that a business is doing their best and wants to improve, it can change their perception of the business. This means that you can turn a negative review into a positive one. If a customer sees your response and is impressed with you, they may edit or even remove their review. It never hurts to try and change the mind of a customer who had a bad experience.
Now that you have a few tools to respond to bad reviews you can combat those internet trolls. Just keep in mind that a constant stream of bad reviews can be indicative of a deeper issue for your business. However, if you occasionally have a bad review, then it is probably an isolated incident, and now, you know how to deal with that.