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How to Leverage Negative Reviews and Come Out on Top

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Online Reviews

It’s a fact of life that you can’t please everyone. No one likes getting poor (or worse, fake) reviews. But you can make the most out of negative reviews without sacrificing customers or your brand’s image. Read on to learn more.

Respond Graciously

An often-overlooked part of customer service is doing your best to correct mistakes, even if you don’t agree that you did something wrong. Let your reviewers know that you value their feedback and are sorry to hear that their experience was less than stellar. In many cases, the reviewer will appreciate your responsiveness and be open to working with you to fix the situation. You may even earn revised feedback. Simply responding instead of ignoring negative reviews will paint you in a better light, not only with the original reviewer, but with other potential customers.

Be Sincere

First, remember that it may be best to move a complicated discussion to a private message or phone call. Next, remember that sincerity earns respect. Express your feelings honestly, and address the situation in detail. Identify what caused the issue and own up to it if the problem was your (or your employee’s) error. Ask how you can make it right.

Be Conclusive

Your profile isn’t the place to engage in a lengthy back-and-forth with a dissatisfied customer. The last thing you want is for the conversation to devolve into a he-said, she-said argument. Express your thoughts, politely take a stand one way or another, and don’t encourage further discussion. Your simple and professional statement will communicate how you do business to readers.

Be Available

However, if further discussion is necessary, let the reviewer know that you are available to deal with the issue in private, be it in person or via email, phone or private message. Avoid offering free products or other rewards in exchange for revised feedback, which may be misconstrued as bribing. Often times, experienced reviewers who have a genuine problem will revise their reviews or add to a review that the issue was resolved.

Dealing with Fake Reviews

Due to the anonymity of the internet, users (who may not even be customers) can write fake reviews, create fake accounts, and get their friends to bash your reputation. Some fake reviews are so poorly constructed and obvious that you may be able to get Google, Yelp, or Facebook to remove them. Rather than stress out over these unscrupulous reviews, take them with a grain of salt and flag them. Each platform has a way to report these kinds of reviews.

Market Your Negative Reviews

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Find the humor in a hyperbolic negative review, and display it on a sign in front of your store. Encourage potential customers to experience the same “horrible service” as the reviewer. Many customers will appreciate that you acknowledge your reviews and can stand up for yourself in a fun and creative way.

Encourage More Reviews

The more reviews you have, the more exposure you’ll have in the market. Whether they’re positive, negative, neutral, deserved, exaggerated, or fake, your reviews provide you with opportunities to grow, solidify your brand, and improve your service.
Negative reviews don’t have to be bad news. Be sincere, creative, and have a sense of humor, and you can make the most out of a frustrating situation.

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