Oh no, you just received a negative online review for your business. What do you do? A negative review can often have a significant impact on a business’ online presence and bottom line. It is estimated that for every star on Yelp, it can have a 9% negative or positive revenue impact for that business. Reviews can carry a lot of weight and the way that you react to it can be just as important.

What happened?

Sometimes these negative reviews can be loaded with emotions that the root of the problem may be difficult to narrow down. However, take your time when you are reading through their comments and find an understanding of their dissatisfaction. The issue could be as simple as a miscommunication or can give insight to a larger issue that you will need to address. Understanding the issues at hand will allow you to better your business and improve your customer’s experience.

Can you correct the issue?

Once you understand the reason for the negative review, you can decide how you will respond. If you feel that there actually was something that could have been avoided, address in a professional manner. We advise our clients to not necessarily apologize but address the issue and suggest chatting about it on the phone or in person. An apology can be misconstrued and could actually hurt the business owner.

If you find that you can correct the problem, explain to them the steps you plan to take to prevent the situation from reoccurring. They will feel heard and understood which could ultimately win them back and be a testament for your exceptional business practices. For examples of great business responses to negative reviews, check out this article by Review Trackers.

When should you not respond to a negative review?

Unfortunately, you cannot win everyone over. If there is not anything you can do to correct the problem, you may need to learn from the situation and move forward. Marcus from the Social Media Examiner looks at it this way. There are two different types of people: Those with an abundance mentality (minority) and those with a scarcity mentality (majority). The abundance mentality represents those that are more positive and that there is plenty of success and worth to go around for everyone. The scarcity mentality represents those that carry a more negative thought process and constantly feel like there will never measure up to another person’s success. These scarcity thinkers project their feels of inadequacy onto others and often represent some of the most negative reviews you may receive. You may also find that some negative reviews are not from actual customers and are instead from trolls. Trolls are defined as people who take pleasure in provoking emotional responses from readers through inflammatory and controversial comments. Beware of this type of internet reviewer and do not engage much with them. It will only create a stressful situation and a distraction to your business and viewing customers. In reality, most viewers of your reviews will be able to spot a troll and mentally dismiss their comments as such.

In conclusion, you can respond or not respond to your negative reviews. It is really up to your discretion and how you want to portray your business. Just remember to always uphold your professional manner, and do not sink down to the level of your negative reviewers. Study other businesses and how they respond to their reviews and find what works best for you and your business.