Dealing with Negative Online Reviews

Over the last decade, online reviews have played an increasing role in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Check out the data from the 2019 Local Consumer Review Survey:

  • 90% of consumers used the Internet to find a local business in the last year – with 33% looking every day.
  • 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses – with 52% of 18 – 54 year-olds saying they always read reviews.
  • The average consumer reads 10 reviews before they feel like they can trust a business.
  • Among consumers that read reviews, 97% also read business’ responses.

Given those numbers, it’s clear there’s a lot at stake. That’s good news if you’re doing things right and consistently getting good reviews. However, it’s unlikely you’ll please everyone, so even great businesses can get slammed online. So, what should you do if you get a bad review?

Our advice:

  • Don’t ignore it. If concerns (valid or not) are not addressed, customers and potential customers may start to question if you care – wondering if you will simply brush off any potential concerns they might have in the future.
  • Respond promptly but respectfully. It’s natural to be upset when someone criticizes your business, particularly if you feel it’s unwarranted – but responding in anger will likely only make the situation worse.
  • If the complaint was warranted… acknowledge the issue and apologize. Your explanation could help turn a negative into a positive.
  • Be authentic and personal – never give a canned response.
  • Once you’ve left a sincere, respectful public comment, take the discussion offline. An offer to call or email the customer shows you are fully willing to resolve the situation.
  • Finally, if you get several negative reviews or reviews that cite the same problems, it’s probably time to make some changes.