How to Handle Negative Online Reviews

Uh-oh, someone just gave your business a one-star review, and they wrote terrible things about your company. Take that post down ASAP, right? Wrong.

It’s tempting to get those negative reviews removed right away, but we highly recommend solving the complaint instead of flagging it to Google. Although you don’t want others to see the review and think badly of your business, you do want others to see how you handle problems. Almost everyone understands that mistakes occasionally happen. Use this opportunity to show how you and your organization resolve them.

Here are some points to keep in mind on how to handle negative google reviews:

  • The reviewer had an unpleasant experience with your product or service. They are unhappy, and they want someone to listen. Imagine this customer came to you with the same problem in your storefront. You wouldn’t ignore them or try to make them disappear. You would help them resolve the situation.

  • If the customer is angry enough to write a negative review, they have taken a screenshot of the review to “slam” you again if you delete the review. They may even want to write another review explaining that the first was removed and include the screenshot.

  • A one-star review looks bad, although a one-star review with a reasonable, responsible response from the business looks great. You are responsive You’re listening You care, and you want to solve the problem.

  • It’s almost impossible to get Google to remove a negative review, even if it is false or misleading. 

Handling Complaints Online

Congrats, you’ve refrained from deleting or flagging the review. Let’s talk about what to do next. Don’t stress out or panic. Laughter is the best medicine, so LAF.

L — Listen

A — Apologize

F — Fix It

Listen. Read the comments and try to understand where the customer is coming from. Complaints stem from unmet expectations. Look at this as an opportunity. This is your second chance to not only meet the customer’s expectations, but to exceed them.

Apologize. Mistakes happen. Show the customer you can take ownership of the error. It takes a strong person/company to admit that they are wrong.

Fix It. This is up to you. It’s a judgement call. Does the error merit a refund? Maybe offering an additional product or service on the house is sufficient. There will be times when an apology is all you can offer. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and work with them to resolve their frustration.

Now what?

We’ve addressed the critical review and we’ve worked to make the customer happy. Only now do we want to work on getting that complaint removed. If you’ve satisfied the customer, they will often remove the review voluntarily (They might even write a 5 star review in its place). If the reviewer won’t take the review down, ensure that your response also shows, so that people can see how you handle issues. We believe it is better to respond to the negative review — even if the original reviewer won’t remove the review when things resolve.

Negative reviews aren’t hard to handle. Do not let your emotion get the best of you, though. Treat these reviews like in-person complaints and remember to LAF.

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