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Steve Isenberg

Dealing with Negative Online Reviews

Posted on: September 12, 2019

By: Steve Isenberg

“If someone leaves me a bad review, I briefly fantasize about pushing them down a well.” –Lisa Hanawalt

While this quote inspires a chuckle, the truth remains – a bad review can harm your reputation faster than a positive review gives you a boost. Responding promptly and professionally is crucial. As Bill Gates says, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” 

Now the good news. You can do a lot to combat those negative reviews. Let’s dig into the actions you can take.

Earn good reviews: This may seem like a pat answer, but hey, the more 5-star reviews you earn, the less impact a sour note will make in your overall score.

  1. Get active online. Make sure you have profiles on the most popular review sites. Customize your profile, upload professional photos, and update your contact information.
  2. Deliver incredible customer service – to clients and candidates.
  3. Request good reviews. Let the rest of the company know about the online profiles, so current employees can tell why they love working there. Stick a reminder on your website, your Facebook page, and your brochures, so candidates and clients leave reviews. Ask people in person to write a review.

That’s the offensive. But when you do receive a negative review, you’ll have to go on the defensive – without getting all defensive.

  1. Don’t take it personally. Stay calm, professional, and polite. Reviewers will respect you for that, even if they still disagree.
  2. Designate a person high up in the company to manage reviews. Reviewers want to know that an executive cares about them.
  3. Respond quickly to every Inc.com says, “Businesses that respond to reviews have more than an 80% higher rating compared to those that ignore them.”
  4. Listen to the reviewer and examine the problem. If the problem doesn’t exist, provide evidence, and ask the reviewer to remove their review. If the problem is real, thank the reviewer for their feedback and let them know what steps you’re taking to correct the issue.
  5. If this could become a long conversation, ask to move it off the public site. Request that the reviewer email or call you so that you can solve the problem together and in private.

When you show how much you care for reviewers and give personal responses, unhappy reviewers may amend their review after talking with you. Candidates, clients, and employees are watching to see how you treat people and how you solve problems. Look at negative reviews as an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and caring toward other people.

Contact ASJ today about your marketing and branding needs. We’ll help you market your company and earn success, so you’re more deserving of those good reviews.


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