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We all know that receiving a negative review is not fun. This “attack to your pride” can linger for a while in your search results, online directories and can send your potential new customers in another direction.  

There are several ways in which you should deal with them and use them to your advantage. In order to limit the damage that these reviews can cause, you must address them promptly as this will limit the damage that it could potentially cause for your business. A Harris poll identified that customers actually trust businesses more when they see a few “bad apples” in the list of reviews. The key is to limit the damage of each review by reassuring readers that your business is actively addressing the problem and improving from the feedback that you get from your online reviews.

When you proactively respond to the negative review, ensure that you do it professionally as you do not want to start an online feud. There are a few easy steps to keep in mind when you begin to respond to negative reviews:

1.Always address the problem directly. We have learned that the reason that people post a negative review is that they want everyone to know what their specific problem was and the details of their bad experience with your product or service.  When you craft your response, make sure that you allow yourself the time to think about how you want to respond. It should have a direct empathetic understanding of the “pain point” of their negative experience. This will ensure that subsequent readers understand and aware that you are actively addressing the issue.

2.Always lead with an apology and make sure that you are empathetic. For example, if a customer complains that they waited for one hour past their reservation time to get seated at your restaurant, you may want to say something like, “I am very sorry that you had to wait one hour to get a table at our restaurant. We pride ourselves as being punctual and this is highly uncharacteristic of our staff.”

3.When crafting your response, always keep it polite and brief. The shorter the better and always keep polite in your tone. A few sentences are all that you need to address the issue. Never accuse the customer of any wrong doing as it is the fastest way to ruin your attempt to fix the issue.

Finally, if you are seeing that the customer is trying to get into an argument on line, make sure that you take it offline. Set up a time to speak with the individual over the phone. Reviews online are great for your business, however, they can do significant damage if you are not monitoring them and responding to them. A good rule of thumb is to try and respond to all reviews, both good and bad.