Self Expression Magazine

What to Do About Negative Online Reviews

By Waxgirl333 @waxgirl333

As any local business owner knows, negative online reviews can have a huge impact on future business. But what should you do when you get the inevitable less-than-positive review? Ignore it? Respond and risk becoming the next “Amy’s Baking Company” horror story? (If you don’t know this story, here’s a link to the “…most epic brand meltdown on Facebook ever” it’s worth a read!)

Based on an analysis of thousands of local businesses featured on the Locality.com platform, Locality CEO Jay Shek developed a list of four crucial mistakes that small business owners frequently make when responding to negative online reviews:

  • Mistake 1, Posting fake positive reviews - Local neighborhood guides often have red flags in place to find out when a business owner posts fake reviews. Don’t run the risk of being publicly shamed. It’s not worth it.
  • Mistake 2, Overreacting - Negative responses, finger-pointing, and customer-blaming is a quick way to turn a bad online conversation into really bad buzz that hurts your bottom line. Instead, be constructive and find a solution. (Again, read that Amy’s Baking Company story for a great example of overreacting)
  • Mistake 3, Being too passive - Ask your loyal followers to review you online. Target red flags in customer service and nip them in the bud before they find their way to a review
  • Mistake 4, Keeping the conversation online - Don’t get stuck online,move the conversation offline. Contact the customer behind the negative review, hear them out and offer a positive solution.

Note from Bonnie: I would add that after the resolution has been reached offline, make sure you and your customer both post about it online, not only on the review site if possible but on all your social media sites. Think about it like this – When you get a bad mention  at a cocktail party or over coffee, or somewhere else that’s word of mouth but untrackable, you never get a chance to fix it and it probably does even more damage. Online reviews give you a chance to find and regain that customer. So don’t hate them. Love them!


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