In today’s digital world negative reviews are hard to avoid. However, a negative review won’t shut your business down but if mishandled can result in a damaged reputation. In saying this, it’s possible to turn negative reviews into a positive for the business if managed correctly.

Here are some ways to effectively deal with negative reviews online:

1. Keep calm

Reading negative reviews online can come as a surprise to some businesses which leads to feelings of anger. This is why it’s important not to respond until you have taken time to process and assess the negative review. Avoid doing anything to get the customer more upset or make the issue worse.

Make sure you take the time to relax before sending a reply, step away from the device, have a glass of water, take a deep breath or even play with your fidget spinner.

It’s best to put yourself in the position of the customer and understand how you would feel if you were them. It helps to always keep replies positive.

2. Don’t ignore the review

Don’t ignore or remove the negative review instead resolve the issue. Many businesses request to get bad reviews taken down but if a problem is properly resolved the dissatisfied customer may turn their negative opinion into a positive or even remove the comment themselves.

It also shows others how you can handle negative situations and turn them into a positive light.

However, if a review is clearly untrue or just out to hurt your business, you have a right to ignore or remove the comment.

3. Respond promptly

A fast and well structured response shows that you value your customer’s opinion which can lead them to giving your business another chance. No response can appear as if the business doesn’t care or value feedback.

It is ideal you aim to set a specific time frame to reply within, for example within 24 hours of the review being posted.

Always remember to look at the situation as if it were reality. If a customer were to rock up to your office would you wait three weeks to respond to them?

4. Always monitor online presence

Modern consumers don’t rely on information directly from the business anymore instead they turn to online reviews. However, before you can overcome any negative reviews, you must know they exist in first place. This is when the use online monitoring tools comes into play.

By regularly monitoring online social media sites you are aware of how consumers perceive your business and are able respond to their customer needs.

Some examples of these tools include – Facebook Pages Manager App, Sprout Social and Review Push.

5. Be considerate

The first steps in resolving the issue is to apologise, be polite and listen to what the customer is saying – don’t get defensive! Let them know you’re doing everything you can to fix the issue.

Don’t forget potential customers will see your response when doing their research so always take into consideration how you want the treatment of your customer to be portrayed.

Always be sympathetic and put yourself in their shoes – How would you want a business to handle your negative review?

6. Always encourage customer reviews

If a business opens themselves up to receiving more reviews, the good will outweigh the bad.

Satisfied customers are more likely to leave positive reviews so it’s important to encourage all customers to review the business. In doing this it reduces the impact of negative reviews and draws attention to the positive ones.

For example, simply sending out an email asking to please review a service which has been delivered to a client or a product that has been purchased can be a way to encourage these reviews.

7. See the good in bad reviews

No business is perfect, instead of thinking how bad reviews are ruining your business think of how they are helping it. Responding to negative reviews can show your business is genuine and respectful to all customers.

Negative reviews build a sense of trust because too many good reviews can look dishonest making customers think you’re hiding something.

They are a way to show people the time and commitment your business puts into making sure customers have a better experience.

8. Take negative reviews seriously

A Negative review allows us to understand issues from the customer’s perspective so we can target specific areas in need of improvement to benefit the future of the business.

Look at it as an opportunity to talk to your customers. Find out how you can improve the service/product offered by listening to them. This will help build stronger customer relationships and become more of a proactive tool to improve flaws within your business.

9. Share negative comments with employees

Making sure employees are aware of both the good and bad reviews can help your business grow. Teaching them the correct procedures to tackle any negativity in the future will allow the development of a customer-focused mindset and improve overall business performance.

Hosting weekly meetings to discuss any negative reviews is a way to inform everyone in the workforce and address how you want future negative reviews dealt with.

10. Develop strategy for future action on negative reviews

It’s beneficial to create a plan of action so the process is more successful and less timely in the future. A clear strategy with an effective solution to deal with negative reviews can save customer relationships or change dissatisfied opinions on the business just from showing you care.

When creating the plan you must decide who will design it? Who’s in charge of finding the negative reviews? Does the person have links to everyone in the company so they are able to get prompt responses and actions in place? For example, It could be the Operations Manager, CEO or Risk Manager.

These 10 ways to deal with negative reviews online are effective in turning any negatives into positives while also improving the overall growth and reputation of a business.