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No one, no small business owner wants to see negative customer reviews. They can be so totally disheartening, annoying and quite shocking. If you can take a step back they can also provide you with some honest feedback about areas of your business that you may be blind to. This isn’t always the case but important to take a look and be honest with yourself.
Online reviews are here to stay so it’s best to know how to handle them correctly and how not to handle them.
One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is to take negative reviews extremely personally. While negative reviews can be hurtful, it’s important not to get swept away into an emotional state of depression, anger, self-pity or hopelessness. If you have a few negative reviews amidst a lot of other positive ones, realize that these are just the opinions of a minority. Also understand that people need to air their grievances and possibly found the easiest way to do it was online. By having a sober and objective view about negative publicity, you will be able to better tackle the problem in a calm, organized and respectable manner than if you are on an emotional roller-coaster.
KNOWLEDGE IS KEY: One of the key weapons in dealing with negative reviews is having an arsenal of factual information about the business transaction that resulted in the negative publicity. However it’s easy to get impulsive and immediately respond to a negative review without checking your facts. This can only lead to false assumptions and further public embarrassment as you will come across as a business that doesn’t know what it is talking about.
Getting your facts right is also critical in knowing whether the negative review was accurate or inaccurate.
If your facts reveal your business messed up, you will need to apologize and rectify the situation and if the client was the problems, you can still approach them with a mind to helping them see your side of the story.
Another big mistake is being overly defensive and seeking to pass blame to everyone but your business. One of the marks of being defensive is getting involved in a back and forth online shouting match with your customers. This is definitely not the way to go because first of all, you have an online audience witnessing your tirade and secondly everyone expects your business to be professional and take the high ground.
Take your head out of the sand!!
Just as bad as being defensive, is being flippant and ignoring negative reviews. Every negative review is worth taking a look at and worth rectifying to the best of your ability as a business owner. By burying your head in the sand and ignoring what people are saying, you are only setting up yourself for a major storm ahead. It’s always best to nip bad publicity in the bud and save yourself a lot of trouble and money down the road.
Donna Price is a strategist, working with entrepreneurs to increase profits using the 7 Profitability Accelerators. Create your system for success.