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Many businesses live, breathe and thrive based on review star ratings, and negative reviews can have a real effect on how well a business does. At some point, all businesses can expect negative reviews, but there are some options for reputation management worth exploring.

86% of consumers who have read negative reviews claimed that the information impacted their buying decision.

Reconsideration

If you’re able to fix the issue with the customer, ask them to reconsider their negative review and they might just edit what they left. But only do so if you feel they’re very satisfied with your efforts to resolve the issue, no matter how much work on your part. If they aren’t thrilled with your efforts then it’s best to keep silent. In those instances where you were able to turn the customer around and they did provide follow up comments, these can be a real advantage to your review profile as it’s visibility demonstrates your commitment and eagerness to ensure your customers are happy. Most businesses experience negative reviews at some point, but not all of them take the time or make the effort to make their customers happy. In most cases, you should reply to all reviews. You don’t want to just engage with the especially happy ones and take the opportunity to reply to all. This includes responding to negative reviews as well, for the sake of trying to correct any issues or turning the matter around so your customer is satisfied.

Four or more negative reviews can push 70% of your potential customers to your competitors.

Reconciliation

Sometimes there simply isn’t anything you can do to ‘fix’ things for the customer. In cases like this, it can demonstrate an effort on your part, even if it wasn’t resolved or arrive at a positive outcome. In cases like these, own up to it, apologetically, and explain the circumstances. If your reasons are relatively valid, most will be reasonable. There will be times when a customer continues to berate you, and if you have an alternative way to repair the situation then great. But sometimes it isn’t possible due to expectations or demands and you have to let go. Part of the point in attempting to do so is the visibility in your efforts to restore your customer’s faith in your product or service is visible, and your actions sometimes provide others incentive to put their trust in you, simply because you’ve made reasonable attempts to diffuse a situation.

86% of consumers say buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.

Removal

In some instances, you might come across fake reviews. You usually know them when you see them, and for many sites it’s a case of reporting or flagging them so that your request to have what look like fake reviews be sent for consideration and processing.

You can also consider that negative reviews will sometimes help you identify opportunities or shortcomings of your product or service, which allows you to try and improve your business. When specifics like these are shared, sometimes it’s like a blessing in disguise, because most don’t usually vocalize their issues, they usually move on without a word as to why. Those that share their opinion are providing insight on ways to improve your business.

It’s always best to keep your tone professional as online reviews are a public facing platform with high visibility. It’s also (strongly) advised to keep any responses to reviews on the more professional sites like Yelp, BBB, Google, HomeAdvisor or Facebook, and not engage on opinion sites like RipOff Report, Complaints Board or Pissed Consumer where should you be baited to reply, things can go south quickly.

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