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How to handle bad reviews for your small business?

As a small business, not all the reviews you get are going to be good ones. Here are some ways to handle bad reviews when you get them.

How to handle bad reviews for your small business?

As a small business owner, getting a bad review can feel like a personal attack. It can be discouraging to see negative comments about your business, especially when you’ve put all your time and energy into it. Bad reviews, however, are a fact of life for any business, and it’s important that you know how to handle them in a way that reflects positively on your business. Here are some tips for handling bad reviews and turning them into opportunities to improve your business.

  • Don’t Take Them Personally - When handling bad reviews, you need to detach yourself emotionally from them. The review is about the business, not you personally. While it’s natural to feel defensive or hurt, responding with emotion will only make things worse. Take a deep breath, step back, and remind yourself that these are opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Respond Promptly And Professionally - Modern customers expect instant and constant gratification in their customer journey, including after making a purchase. When you get a bad review, it’s important to respond promptly and professionally. Ignoring negative reviews or responding defensively will only make situations worse. Thank the reviewers for their feedback and apologize for any negative experiences they had with your business. Even if you don’t agree with reviews, it’s important to acknowledge the reviewer’s perspective and show that you care about their experiences.
  • Address The Specific Concerns - When responding to reviews, address the specific concerns raised in the reviews. If the reviewer had an issue with a particular product or service, explain what steps you’re taking to address the issue. If the reviewer had a negative experience with a particular employee, explain what you’re doing to train your staff and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. The key is to be transparent, show that you’re taking the feedback seriously, and communicate the actions you are taking based on their concerns.
  • Offer Solutions - Go beyond addressing the specific concerns by offering solutions to the reviewer’s problems. This could take the form of a refund, a discount on a future purchase, or some other type of compensation. By offering solutions, you’re showing that you are committed to making things right and that you value the reviewer’s business.
  • Take The Conversation Offline - Not all situations are best resolved in public spaces. In some cases, taking the conversation offline is the better way to go. For example, if the review involves personal information or sensitive details, it’s best to handle the situation privately. When you respond to this type of situation, invite the reviewer to contact you directly to discuss the issue further. This shows that you take the review seriously and are willing to work with the reviewer to resolve the issue.
  • Protect Your Staff - Mistakes happen. As a small business, your employees are on the frontline day in and day out representing your brand. If a complaint comes in, they need to know you have their back. This could mean providing training on how to handle unhappy customers, setting up a complaint policy or immediately escalating negative reviews to managers or to yourself to take the pressure off your team members.
  • Learn From The Experience - Bad reviews can be learning experiences and a valuable source of feedback to help you improve your business. Look for patterns in the reviews, such as whether there are certain issues that come up repeatedly or whether there are areas where you can improve your customer service or product offerings. Use the feedback to make positive changes to your business and show that you’re committed to continuous improvement. Create formal policies such as a refund or return policy, and revisit them. Implement a system or tool where customers can give you feedback directly, instead of on a site like Google or Yelp.

Bad reviews can be hard, but they don’t have to be negative experiences. By having the right attitude and taking the proper actions, you can turn a bad review into an opportunity to improve your business and show your customers that you care. Every business receives bad reviews and how you handle them is what will set you apart.

If you want to know more about reviews for your business, you can read our article, “How to increase reviews for your small business?” or contact us.

Tags: bad reviews, small business

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Geoff Strauss
Apr/11/2023

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