How to Protect Your Small Business From Negative Online Reviews

It’s no secret that online reviews have a massive impact on whether or not a company will continue to thrive. When it comes to small businesses, negative reviews can be particularly damaging.

There are several reasons why customers might leave reviews. They can be unhappy with a product or service, they can have had a bad experience, or they might want to share their opinion with others. In some cases, customers might even be motivated by revenge.

Whatever the reason, businesses need to take negative reviews seriously and do what they can to address the situation. Not only does it affect the company itself, but also other potential customers. These customers might find these negative comments before deciding where to spend their money. So what can you do? Here are some helpful strategies for dealing with bad reviews and getting your reputation back on track.

1. Address them head-on

The first step is always to address the issue at hand, which means responding publicly in a way that shows empathy and understanding while still addressing any concerns from dissatisfied customers.

When addressing customers, it’s essential always to be polite and understanding. You should take the time to read their comment and understand their point of view. It’s also important to apologize for any inconvenience they might have experienced and let them know that you’re taking steps to rectify the situation.

It sounds simple enough, but saying “I’m sorry you had that experience” goes a long way. You can then provide information on how they can reach out to you if they have any further questions or concerns. Customers want to know you’re listening to them, and this small act of humility can go a long way in making them feel valued as a customer.

2. Address them privately

negative ratings on store

It can be tempting to address negative reviews publicly. Still, it is not always the best way to handle the situation. If you take the time to address disgruntled customers privately, it can be a much more effective strategy.

There might not be anything you can do on your end as the business owner for some complaints. If this is the case, it’s best to tell them you’ll pass on the message and see if there’s anything you can do. Then, it’s up to your customer service team (or whoever handles these things) to get in touch with the customer and try their best to make it right.

Private messages can also be helpful when dealing with customers who simply want attention or are looking to vent. It’s important to remember that you can’t please everyone, so it’s best not to let those negative feelings take up your time or energy. Instead, try and turn the situation into a positive by letting them know you hear them and that you’re willing to help in any way you can.

3. Check comments on other sites

While social networking sites offer an opportunity to connect with people, they can also be a place where people go to leave less than flattering reviews about your business. While you might think replying on Facebook or Twitter is the best way to address these problems, they’ll most likely show up elsewhere too.

When it comes to negative comments popping up on your social media pages, it might be best to simply lock them down. That way, only people you approve can comment. You can also look at your settings and block specific keywords or hashtags associated with negative comments. Suppose customers are looking to leave negative feedback about your business. They might find an alternative way to voice their displeasure even if you’ve blocked their profile.

4. If the customer sues

There are instances when a disgruntled customer wants to take their complaint further and sue the business for the unpleasant experience with a product or its services.

Suppose you’re concerned that a customer might be headed towards litigation. In that case, it’s essential to review the contract that is in place with them. You probably had them sign an agreement that spells out each party’s expectations when you signed up with them. It can be costly but have an attorney look at an existing contract, policy, and other binding legal documents. Business owners can save costs from potential litigation by purchasing a general liability insurance policy that covers expenses from legal claims and lawyer fees.

It can be tough to deal with unhappy customers, but sometimes they take their frustrations out online. Say you have a system in place for dealing with negative reviews online. That can safeguard your business from other consequences.

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