What to Do About Negative Small Business Reviews

When it comes to making online purchasing, many customers will rely on the opinions and experiences of past customers. According to customer service platform Zendesk, at least 80% of customers have been influenced by some kind of online review when it comes to buying products and services online. This is why for small businesses, getting positive reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, Yell, TrustPilot, Angie’s List and TripAdvisor is crucial as it helps to build trust with potential customers. But if you get a negative review, it can adversely impact your business and drive down your ranking on review sites, making your company harder to find. So, how do you respond to reviews that don’t paint your business in a great light?


#1. Respond Quickly:

Responding promptly is absolutely essential to dealing with a negative review. It shows the customer that even though the service they received from your business might not have been up to scratch this time, you care about what they have to say and value their opinion. In fact, the way that you respond can even outshine the bad experience that the customer had in the first place, leaving them willing to give your business a second chance. So, be apologetic, make sure that the customer knows they are heard, and offer to make it right.

#2. Take it Offline:

Depending on the issue that has been raised in the review, it might be a wiser idea to take the issue offline and deal with the customer privately, rather than leaving a comment on a public forum. However, that being said, a polite, apologetic public response is visible to other potential customers, so you may wish to leave a short reply before asking the customer to contact you privately via email or DM so that you can work out what needs to be done to put things right for them.

#3. Be Proactive:

Polite, apologetic replies to negative reviews will quickly begin to fall on deaf ears if there seems to be nothing ever done about fixing the issues that are leading to the bad reviews in the first place. Therefore, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to really taking on board what these customers are saying and using it to make positive changes to your brand and the customer service that you are delivering in the future.

#4. Removing Negative Reviews:

Although negative reviews with a good response can still have a positive impact on your brand, there may be occasions where you would like a negative review to be removed. Most rating and review sites will not allow you to remove reviews, however, if one is vilifying, defamatory or contains false information, you can request that the site takes it down. To make the request, you will usually need to claim your business listing first. Or, you might want to consider using a tool like Removify which allows you to remove negative reviews from a wide variety of third-party sites.

Negative reviews don’t have to impact your business badly if you handle them well.

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