As a business owner, there are few things as stressful to deal with as negative reviews. While negative feedback in a magazine or spread around a community was devastating for a business, the internet has made these pieces of feedback stick in a much more permanent and pervasive way.
Nowadays, people can do a Google search for a business and immediately dismiss it if it does not have a high enough star rating. This is especially true if competitors have a high star rating of 4.5 to 5 and you only have a 3 or below.
People have a lot of implicit trust in the Google system and will glance at the star count and not bother with businesses that don’t have exemplary feedback. If you are a business that has one or multiple negative online reviews, it can seem like you’re condemned to fail.
However, all hope is not lost. There are ways to deal with negative reviews that allow your business to not be defined by the negative feedback of a vocal minority.
Improve your business and encourage genuine feedback
Without a doubt, the best way to deal with negative reviews is to address the problems that they cite and produce positive experiences with future customers. Eventually, you will have more positive feedback than negative. The negative feedback will be buried by age and the much larger amount of positive feedback.
People understand that a business can change and get better over time, so even if they dig far enough to find the negative feedback from the past, they will put more trust in the positive reviews that are more recent as a true reflection of your company. The best way to go about this is to ask you’re satisfied customers if they would like to share their experience online.
This is different from telling people to give you a positive rating – you are simply encouraging them to give honest feedback. If someone has a good experience with you and is prompted to write about you, they will write good things.
Respond to all feedback, good and bad
A negative review looks worse when it seems like the business has ignored it. While you may not have noticed it when it was posted, others will assume that you are hiding from the negative feedback and are too spineless to address it.
Don’t be defensive or passive-aggressive in responding to negative feedback. Apologize and offer a way to make up for it. In many ways, showing evidence that you care and have tried to remedy the poor experience can attract people to you, as they will see your business is human and not a cold corporate entity.
Ask people to remove negative feedback once its resolved
If you manage to resolve an issue cited in a negative review, then that is the only chance you will get to have it permanently deleted. If someone says they are satisfied with the way you have helped them, then they will feel bad about leaving a negative review.