To survive in today’s digital world your business should have a socially acceptable online reputation and reviews. Customer reviews play an essential role in influencing the behaviour of a potential buyer, with many using these to guide their purchasing decisions – whether it’s deciding on a car to buy or choices like what to have for brunch.

Online Reviews can either be positive or negative, so for your business bear in mind that a bad review might happen at some point in your company. However, you must realize that repairing your online reputation is not as difficult as it seems and those negative reviews can even create a turnaround of event and be used for good.

A 2013 study by Harvard Business School found the majority of consumers trust reviews when they see a mix of good and bad.

  1. Negative Reviews Make Good Reviews Look Better

Business owners should take full advantage of negative feedback and encourage buyers to make issues known to the company. They should see it as a vital means for observing problems unknown to them and addressing it before they increase rapidly.

95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores. Buyers know that no one is perfect, which is why customers value seeing honest feedback, even if it reduces the online reputation of the brand.

  1. Do Not Start an Argument

Listen with an open mind to a customer even when the complaint is true or not. Avoid being defensive, do not resort to excuses or blame rather get all the information and understand the perspective of the customer. Try to comprehend their side of the story and minimize further complaints of the buyers.

  1. Encourage the Reviewer to Take the Conversation Offline

Although it’s important to post a short, synchronized response to a bad review showing other buyers that you’re handling and resolving the situation but, when you find yourself going back and forth with a dissatisfied customer online, you’re in reality having a public argument which isn’t good for your company or brand. You can resolve negative online review by creating a positive experience in a private setting. This approach can also help to reduce the tension in the situation and calm things down more quickly.

  1. Be Professional and Demonstrate Strong Empathy

Be sincere and respectful while responding to a bad review, empathize with the buyer and understand why they are not satisfied with your services. Sincerely apologize to the customers, and invite them to return so you can make it up to them in some way. If you feel the customer’s review is wrong, you can say it in a professional and rational manner without raising an argument. The aim is to create a relationship, meaningful dialogue, and to do this publicly to show other potential buyers that you’re listening and addressing the matter accordingly.

  1. Address a Complaint Immediately

Whether you’re dealing with a bad review over the phone, online, or in person, try to identify and address the challenges as quickly as you can. The first mindset you should have when addressing complaints should be to help fix the issues once they’re brought to your notice, this helps to reduce the tendency of causing further problem.

  1. Offer Incentives for Reviews

When your buyers write a review for you, they’re actually helping you, so it won’t be a bad idea to repay them. Businesses that offer small tips or incentives – like a promo code or a coupon- for writing reviews, always hit big volumes of reviews and it helps you measure your customer engagement.

  1. Get More Good Reviews

Data shows that only 14% of reviews aren’t 4 or 5 stars. So you don’t have to worry too much about getting bad reviews.

Another statistics shows that 57% of consumers would use a business with a three-star rating, if you get a bad review the best way to deal with them is to get more good reviews. Why cry over spilt milk if it can be corrected? Negative online reviews aren’t bad reviews; they are easy to handle because we know most of them will eventually be turned in our favor.

At Elevatie we can help, so if you’re scared of negative online reputation, you don’t have to be anymore – there is a light at the end of every tunnel… Be optimistic!

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Request a demo to see how Elevatie’s efficient, mobile process can help your business collect 15x more reviews than traditional platforms. This will, in turn, improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenues.

Author: Susan MillerSusan is an accomplished graphics designer, published author, and writer with 2 different publishing companies, & over 5yrs of experience. She is Elevatie's online content manager and graphics designer.