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Today, a big question that we hear a lot is, how to respond to negative reviews? Online reviews are the lifeblood of every modern brand. According to Statista, 36 percent of all Internet users aged 25 to 34 use online reviews to research brands and products, and 52 percent of these Internet users post their reviews online. Many people believe that online reviews are as reliable as personal recommendations from their friends and family, and allow them to greatly influence their purchasing decisions. 

Negative online reviews present a unique problem for business owners. The first instinct for businesses who receive a negative review is to lash out or dispute the customer’s review in a combative fashion. This is exactly the opposite of how your business should handle a negative online review. 

This article will explain how companies should handle negative or unflattering reviews, boosting their brand’s reputation and helping to attract new customers.

The Importance of Reviews For Your Brand

Your company may have spent years cultivating its brand image, both online and offline. Overall, businesses want their online presence to reflect the positive aspects of their brand, like trustworthiness and integrity. Negative reviews can interfere with this important means of branding, casting doubt in customers’ minds before choosing to do business with you.

One of the top qualities that customers want to see in their favorite companies is responsiveness. Companies need to be able to accommodate their customers’ requests in a friendly manner.

How Negative Reviews Affect Your Brand

No matter what type of business you are running; from a dentist’s office to a restaurant, your customers pay attention to your online reviews. Even a single negative review may cause prospective new customers to steer clear of your business. Businesses are frustrated by this phenomenon, but they need to understand why reviews are so important.

A review encapsulates a customer’s personal experience with the brand. They are often posted in the ‘heat of the moment’, and they may not always be diplomatically worded.

Reasons Why Negative Reviews Are Posted

There are many reasons why a customer may choose to write a negative review of your business. First, they may be sincerely aggravated by your customer service or the quality of your products. For example, if a pizza customer receives their food an hour late and cold, they may feel motivated to post an angry review.

Bad reviews can also be posted maliciously by competitors or online trolls. It is not easy to track these types of reviews, as they are often anonymously posted.

Businesses are sometimes bothered by negative online reviews because the customer goes directly from their poor experience to writing the review. If the customer had contacted the business for help before writing the review, it is more likely that the company would have been able to mollify them with a free product or a sincere apology. It is frustrating when customers will not allow your business to make things right.

How to Handle Negative Reviews

Fortunately, there are steps your business can take to respond to online reviews and minimize their impact on your bottom line. No matter how negative a review may be, it is important not to take it personally. Even if you are mentioned by name in the review, letting your emotions control how you respond is damaging.

It is also imperative to never ignore a negative review. You may feel that you don’t have to address a negative review because you have so many positive reviews on the page, but ignoring the negative review comes at a cost. Customers’ eyes are immediately drawn to reviews with one star and an angry writer. The negativity coming from one bad review can quickly overtake your business’s reputation.

Personal apologies are one of the best ways in which you can respond to a negative review. Try to empathize with the customer’s feelings and respond accordingly. 

Customers also like discount codes and free items. Simply getting a coupon from a store or restaurant can feel like a proper acknowledgment of the customer’s problem.

Fake Reviews 

The spread of fake reviews is becoming a growing problem in the digital landscape. As alluded to, reviews nowadays don’t always come from happy or unhappy customers, they can be used as smear campaigns by competitors or online trolls. 

Dealing with fake reviews is not always as easy as dealing with real, unhappy customers. However, it’s still imperative to not leave them ignored. That being said, responding to fake reviews can bring more harm than good and lead to a combative back and forth with the reviewer, or additional fake reviews being published. Removals specializes in the permanent removal of negative and fake reviews. They will build a case on their clients behalf and fight for the removal of fake and unjust reviews about your business. 

Use Negative Reviews as a Learning Opportunity

Overall, use negative reviews as a learning experience. After you have accounted for malicious reviews and trolls, you will see that negative reviews contain hidden wisdom for your business.

A negative online review may signify that your company is not meeting the customer’s needs and addressing their pain points. It may be a sign that your quality control is slipping or that your employee training needs to be increased. No matter what you learn from your negative reviews, use them to make your company stronger.

Getting Professional Help

Responding to online reviews can be an extensive, time consuming process, and is not a discipline that should be rushed. If your brand is struggling to keep up with the management of your review platforms, or you are being ravaged by fake, malicious complaints, it may be a good time to contact a professional reputation management company like Removals. Removals can take away the stress of responding to negative reviews and permanently remove complaints that are damaging your brand’s reputation.