The internet provides a means for customers to share their opinions and post honest reviews. This gives businesses easy access to feedback while customers have an accessible medium to share their experiences. While that can be beneficial for your company, it can also be damaging if customers leave bad reviews. However, as your business expands, bad reviews become unavoidable. Here’s how to respond to negative reviews and use online reputation management to your advantage.

No, you can’t delete reviews or threaten lawsuits

We habitually get asked the question, “How do you delete a bad review?” That’s not the right question. Instead, you should ask, “How do we respond to negative reviews?” Because you cannot delete it.

In the past, companies tried to disparage this trend by responding with threatening or negative replies. However, a law called the Customer Review Fairness Act of 2016 protects anyone’s right to post negative reviews. Businesses still reserve the right to remove or hide negative comments. Nonetheless, threatening a reviewer with, for example, a lawsuit is unlawful. The new law does not interfere with libel, either. 

It has never been good customer service to disparage negative reviews. However, the law now considers doing so illegal.

Embrace online reputation management

Your customers should feel free to leave honest reviews. In addition, much better ways exist when managing your online reputation. Here are a couple of tips on how to respond to negative reviews in the best way possible:

  • First, acknowledge the review as valid and constructive. We all know not everything on the Internet is, in fact, valid or constructive, but for the sake of customer satisfaction and professionalism, it is vital to treat all reviews in this way. 
  • Next, respond with a sincere apology. Arguing with the customer online is not only futile in getting them to change their review, but also reflects poorly on your business. 
  • Offer to fix the customer’s problem and be prepared to follow through. A good way to do this is by giving them a phone number or email so the customer will have a better way to communicate with you or a manager.

Lastly, remember to respond to all reviews. This includes the positive ones to show you’re not only there for online reputation management.

Not all negative reviews are negative

Over the years, programs started popping up left and right to give you positive reviews to not only combat the negative ones but to make your business appear favorable. Although positive reviews are important, they shouldn’t be your only end goal. Negative reviews can help your business as well.

As surprising as it sounds, as much as 85 percent of consumers specifically look at negative reviews before making a purchasing decision. If a business has zero negative reviews, they can’t develop a sense of the worst-case scenario. Consumers want to know what can go wrong. Too many positive reviews with little context can also seem fake.

These tips will help your company effectively respond to negative reviews without infringing upon the rights of the customer. With this advice in mind, your company is sure to react to negative reviews with grace and professionalism.

person learning how to respond to negative reviews on facebook business page

Azure Digital exists to provide small and medium-sized businesses the online ability to pass your competition and compete with the largest players in your category. Our experience with B2B, B2C, government entities, e-commerce, and non-profits allow us to share ideas, success stories across industries and multiple verticals, and put them to work for you. We look forward to partnering with you in demonstrating a successful, well-executed digital marketing strategy.