Online reviews can be an essential marketing tool for many small businesses. They allow potential clients and customers to see how effective your goods and services are, how you interact with clients, and what other people’s experiences with your business have been. Most people check online reviews these days before making a buying decision.

When reviews are great, that’s amazing. It’s when you get negative reviews that you need to adjust. Unfortunately, negative reviews are a part of the business. You simply can’t please every customer all the time.

Here’s the thing: a negative review may actually be turned into a positive for your business. So how do you rebuild trust after a customer has vented their frustrations online?


Leave the negative review there

A negative review doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Although customers do like to see five-star reviews, they will usually understand that perfection is nearly impossible—and it’s probably a clue that something is “too good to be true.” In that sense, having a customer provide negative feedback gives more credibility to the positive reviews. Customers expect to see a few negative reviews. As long as they’re in with the positive feedback, the negatives are not likely to hurt you much and can even increase your legitimacy if they’re handled well.


Respond to the review honestly

Customer complaints can be a way to build trust with your potential clients by allowing you the opportunity to respond professionally and honestly. Did something go wrong that was out of your control? Offer an apology and explain what happened. Had there been a misunderstanding? Please take the opportunity to try and clear it up. Has the reviewer asked for additional information or a solution? Respond online to show people what you’ve done to address the situation. Did the reviewer misunderstand your policies? Explain your policy and offer to contact them if they need any further clarification.

Doing so shows potential customers that you take their concerns seriously and are willing to take responsibility when things go wrong.


Learn from negative reviews

If you see the same concerns repeatedly popping up in the online feedback, it may be time to review your goods or services. Negative reviews can give you an insight into areas where customers feel your business could make some changes, so take the time to consider what they are telling you. You can always improve your offerings, or you may need to communicate better with clients to help manage expectations.

Thank them for their feedback, let them know that you value it and that you’re taking their concerns seriously. Make sure you explain what your next steps will be.


Final thoughts

Don’t panic. One or two bad online reviews probably aren’t going to ruin your reputation. In fact, a few negative reviews can help build some trust with potential clients. You can use the situation to build trust in your business by being honest, responsive, and transparent.

If possible, make sure your response includes:

  • An apology.
  • A statement about your commitment to your customers/clients.
  • A way to follow on with the conversation offline if further discussion is needed.

Doing this will show potential customers and clients that you care about their feedback and are willing to take responsibility. Still, it also allows you to move the conversation to a more private forum if the reviewer isn’t happy with your response.

To find out how we can help your business be in a position to minimise the impact of online reviews, contact us and Join the Conversation…

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