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How to Handle Negative Online Reviews

Receiving negative reviews online can be frustrating and detrimental to your business, but it's important to handle them professionally and constructively. In this post, we outline seven (7) strategies for handling negative online reviews and another seven (7) strategies for handling fabricated, non-genuine negative reviews.

Handling poor online reviews
  1. Stay calm: It's essential to remain composed and not let your emotions drive your response. Take a moment to collect your thoughts before proceeding.

  2. Evaluate the review: Carefully analyse the content of the review to understand the specific issues raised. Look for any valid points or areas where you can improve.

  3. Respond promptly: Timeliness is crucial when addressing negative reviews. Aim to respond within 24-48 hours to demonstrate your attentiveness and willingness to resolve the matter.

  4. Show empathy and apologise: Begin your response by expressing empathy for the customer's experience and apologising for any dissatisfaction or inconvenience caused. This demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction.

  5. Address the concerns directly: Respond to each specific issue raised in the review. Provide a clear and concise explanation or offer a solution to rectify the problem. Offer your willingness to discuss the matter further to reach a resolution.

  6. Take the conversation offline: Encourage the reviewer to continue the discussion privately, either through direct messaging or by providing contact information. This allows for a more personal and in-depth conversation to address the issue effectively.

  7. Learn and improve: Treat negative reviews as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Analyse the feedback received and consider implementing necessary changes to prevent similar issues from arising in the future.

Remember, each negative review is a chance to showcase your commitment to customer satisfaction and demonstrate your willingness to address concerns. By responding in a professional and empathetic manner, you can help mitigate the impact of a negative review and maintain a positive online reputation.

If you come across a review that appears to be fabricated or not genuine, it's important to handle the situation carefully. Here's what you can do:

  1. Investigate: Take some time to gather information and assess the review in question. Look for any indications that it might be fake, such as generic language, inconsistencies, or similarities to other suspicious reviews.

  2. Check the reviewer's profile: If possible, examine the reviewer's profile on the platform where the review was posted. Look for any patterns of suspicious activity or a history of leaving similar reviews on multiple businesses.

  3. Flag the review: Most review platforms have mechanisms in place to report and flag suspicious or fraudulent reviews. Use the platform's reporting feature to notify them about your concerns. Provide specific reasons why you believe the review is fake and any evidence you've gathered.

  4. Respond professionally: Craft a polite and professional response to the review, addressing your concerns about its authenticity. Express that you take all feedback seriously but question the legitimacy of the review. Avoid making accusations or engaging in a heated exchange.

  5. Request evidence: In your response, politely ask the reviewer to provide more details or evidence to support their claims. This may prompt them to reveal the falseness of the review or discourage them from continuing to spread false information.

  6. Encourage genuine reviews: Continue to encourage your satisfied customers to leave genuine reviews about their positive experiences. Authentic reviews can help counterbalance any potential fake ones.

  7. Seek legal advice (if necessary): In extreme cases where the fake review has significant negative consequences for your business and you believe it constitutes defamation or intentional harm, consult with a legal professional to explore your options.

It's important to maintain professionalism throughout the process and avoid engaging in any behavior that could harm your reputation further. Focus on addressing genuine concerns and building a positive online presence through genuine customer interactions and feedback.