How to Respond to a Negative Online Review

How to Respond to a Negative Online Review

As small business owners, we’ve had our share of negative feedback. A happy customer tells no one. But, what do you do when you discover the dreaded one-star Google review? What’s the proper feedback?

We’ve assembled some great tips to help you get through the negativity – not only how to respond, but also how to learn from it and move forward.

Don’t get angry. Our knee-jerk reaction is to become angry. This business is your baby, and you’ve worked hard to get it where it is. Seeing a negative review might make you “see red,” as they say. Take a deep breath, read the review, and even print it out so you can read it over and take notes.

Research the validity of the incident. If the individual gives details of the incident, ask around. Maybe they’re saying someone was rude over the phone, or their dish was under cooked at your restaurant. Take a look at the date; were you busy that night? Was your receptionist sick, and the person covering for him or her was nervous or on edge? There are so many factors that go into one bad day at the office or place of business. Take it all into account. Listen to your employees. Talk to them about the review and that you want to address it ASAP.

Read and follow the site rules for businesses. Most sites require a level of decorum. Even if the reviewer was rude, you need to take the high road and answer respectfully and professionally. Sometimes it even helps to leave your name and email address so that they can reach out to you directly. People want to know that you care about them, and that you want to make your business better.

Ask for false or inappropriate reviews to be removed. If the reviewer is unnecessarily rude, using nasty language, or is lying, then you can report their comment to site moderators to have the comment removed.

Understand your customer. Have empathy and compassion for your customer. The most important thing is to remember that you want them to continue coming back to your business, and you want to imagine yourself in their shoes.

Respond politely, honestly, and publicly. If and when you do respond, do so on the review page as the owner or manager. Address their concern, thank them for their business, and offer a solution. Many people just want to know that they’ve been heard. Acknowledge them, and thank them for reaching out and helping you to improve your business. You may even want to offer them something, or ask them to come back and give you another chance.