How to Handle Negative Online Reviews

If you’ve received a negative online review, there’s good news: that stray one-star Yelp post shouldn’t hurt your credibility.

Only 8 percent of American consumers expect a business to have a five-star rating, according to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2016. So rest assured, negative online reviews aren’t disastrous! Still, too many of them will scare off customers who are researching you. It’s essential that you pay attention to what’s being said about you online, and respond appropriately.

Why Reviews Matter

Lots of research reveals the importance of online reviews, including the BrightLocal survey. That survey found that 84 percent of Americans trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations, and 91 percent read reviews at least occasionally.

That means that most of the people who are in the market for your services are looking at reviews before deciding who to hire, and they put a lot of stock in what they read in reviews. That’s why it’s important to keep track of the reviews you receive on all the major review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook and Thumbtack. Try Googling your own business name to find all the sites where customers are talking about you.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

Some review sites, like Yelp, allow business owners to post responses to customers who leave negative online reviews. That way, other customers can see how you respond to feedback and you can clear your name if you feel that the review is inaccurate.

Any time you post a response to a negative online review, keep in mind that prospective future customers are watching.

Never respond to a bad review with anger or accusations, and never reveal private information about the customer. Instead, craft a professional and sympathetic response that refutes any false claims the review makes. You might write something like, “I’m sorry you weren’t happy with my service. I see you mentioned that my price was too high, but it was the same price I quoted you before the work began. I appreciate your business.”

Some sites don’t allow you to publicly respond, but you may want to reach out privately to customers who post negative online reviews to try to make amends. It’s possible that you’ll soothe those unhappy customers enough that they’ll remove their posts.

Negative reviews may linger on your Yelp or Angie’s List page, however.

Make them less visible by drowning them out with lots of positive reviews. Be sure to ask all your satisfied customers to write you a review when you finish working for them. If you have 10 raves, a single rant will get pushed down the page until it’s hardly noticeable at all.

You May Also Like: 9 Tips for Getting More Online Reviews for Your Home Service BusinessThe Right Way To Handle Negative Comments on Social Media

Last modified: October 23, 2017

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