Learning Hub | Digital Marketing Basics

What to Do If You Get a Negative Online Review

May 9, 2014 | Jon Teodoro

If you’ve ever ate at a restaurant and utilized some kind of technology to find it, chances are Yelp or some other kind of review site was a part of your search process. Review sites are great for finding new places if you’re a customer, but what if you’re a business? If you are a business owner and your business is on Yelp, reviews may have helped you gain more business from positive reviews, however, once in a while (hopefully at least) a mediocre or bad review may make its way to your review profile.

Since you can’t erase these negative online reviews, there’s little you can do on the visible side of things. Once a negative review is there, it’s going to stay there, which makes review sites a double edged sword for businesses. In a perfect world, your business would please every single customer and you would strive to get a five star review from every person that walked through your doors. In reality, this world is far from ideal from that and I’ve personally seen some great businesses get bad reviews.

And that’s totally OK.

Getting negative reviews are not the end of the world. A complaining or unhappy customer is indicative that you a normal, and that your business is ran by humans since it is in our nature to make mistakes. We learn from our mistakes. We only get better from our mistakes, so each negative review serves as a learning experience and a reality check from our customers. Bad reviews allow us to get feedback from our customers to found out where our weak points are so we can strengthen them.

The next time your business gets a bad review online, respond back in an appropriate manner. If a customer seems angry, don’t escalate the situation by responding back in the same way. Thank the reviewer for being honest with you and taking the time out to leave some feedback (if they didn’t care, they wouldn’t have left feedback for you at all) and offer to fix the situation itself.

Keep in mind, however, that attempting to compensate for a lack of performance with giving away free products or vouchers may not be the best way to remedy the situation since that is not really addressing the situation itself. There is a fine line between compensating customers for their bad experiences and this fine line varies between all industries and business types: just be smart about it.

What are some ways you have dealt with negative reviews online?