For any business owner, reading a negative review can make your heart sink. You put blood, sweat, and tears into your company, so when someone says something bad about it, it’s hard not to take it personally. However, in today’s digital age, the way in which you handle negative feedback is of huge importance. If you argue with a disgruntled customer on Twitter, it’s not something you can just brush under the carpet – once it’s on the World Wide Web, it’s there forever!

What to do with negative reviews of your business?

Breathe and put yourself in the customer’s shoes

The first thing you need to do is take a minute to breathe. It’s easy to fly off the handle when you read a comment that’s not so favourable about your business. How dare they? However, you need to remember that your company’s reputation is on the line, and so rash actions are never recommended. Although there are exceptions, there tends to be a reason why a poor review has been left. A lot of the time, customers want to help you improve, rather than simply trying to beat you down. This is why it is imperative to try and see the issue from the customer’s point of view, rather than taking it personally. Imagine yourself as a customer. Read into the language they have used and try to figure out where things have gone wrong. You need to understand the problem before you can take the correct action. By being empathetic, you will be able to reply in the most personable and professional manner.

Do some research

Once you fully understand what the problem is, you should then do some research. You need to understand the consumer journey, which can involve pulling up relevant correspondence and tracking website movement. Try replicating the same experience to see if you have any bumps in the road. Perhaps the issue stemmed from one of your suppliers, for example, your courier? If so, get in touch and demand an explanation. You are only going to be able to turn this negative into a positive if you find out why the mistake happened so that you can find a solution.

Respond to the negative comment

The next step is to respond to the negative feedback you have received. It is easy to try and brush the comment under the carpet, but this won’t get you anywhere. In fact, according to a study published by Trustpilot, 61 per cent of people say that simply getting a response to their complaint is reward enough. You should spend time crafting your response. It needs to be apologetic and professional. The wrong response could create more frustration and anger, which leads the negative feeling to snowball and get worse and worse. This is the most sensitive part of the process. After all, you could turn this into a positive, but you could just as easily make the situation ten times worse if your reply comes across as condescending or unapologetic.

Publicise the response and ask the consumer to modify their review

You should make sure that your response is made public. Why? Because this is a good opportunity to build trust online. The goal here is to show that your business cares about its customers and that you have acknowledge and understood their grievances, and that you have done everything in your power to right this wrong. You should also ask the consumer to modify their review – if the exchange went well, of course. If you have provided a solution that the customer is happy with, you should ask if they would be happy to update the review and let everyone know that you resolved the issue. Don’t push the matter, though. You don’t want the customer to change the review and tell everyone you have been pushing them to leave more positive messages about your business!

Dedicate yourself to doing better

Last but not least, you should always strive to achieve more and improve your business. Use the feedback that you have received as an opportunity to better yourself. If your website is slow, don’t complain that the customer has a poor connection! Instead, look for ways to speed up your site, for example, change your hosting provider to a more reliable host like Siteground. You can also optimise your images, leverage browser caching, reduce redirects, and remove render-blocking JavaScript.

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