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HOWTO: Handle Negative Online Business Reviews Like a Pro

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Let’s face it, online reviews can make you or break you. People rely more than ever on online review sites before making purchases or doing business with a company. If you’re not already monitoring reviews of your company then it’s time to start.

Claim Any Listings Floating Around the Web

The first thing you should do as a business owner is be sure to “claim” your local listings so you can have full control over the details and this also enables you to respond to reviews as a business owner. Popular review sites you should search for your business listing on include Google Places, Yelp, Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Smile Reminder (doctor reviews), Angie’s List, Kudzu and MerchantCircle.handling online negative reviews
Chances are you already have a listing on one of the above sites just waiting to be claimed.

Respond Online and Take it Offline

Once your listings are claimed they are ready to be monitored. And this is where the main point of this blog entry begins! You must respond to reviews, good and bad. The one thing our clients seem to be most confused about is how to address the bad reviews. Well, here are some tips to follow:
1. Do not respond “in the moment.” You may feel heated when you first read a negative review so step back and think about your response before you respond angrily. This is the time to take in some constructive criticism (assuming it’s a legit review).
2. Once you’re ready to respond, start off positive. Here’s an example of how to positively start your response, “We are open to all feedback from clients, as we believe it helps us adjust to better serve our clients.”
3. You should also discuss how you tried to resolve the issue (if you did) or how you plan on resolving the issue.
4. End the response by giving your contact information.

Be Known For Your Excellent Customer Service and Responsiveness

One of the companies I most admire for their customer service is ModCloth. They encourage customer feedback and will respond to any negative product reviews in a very personable way. They refer to the reviewer by name and make it known that they appreciate the feedback. Here are some screen shots of the great customer service I’ve witnessed on ModCloth:
ModCloth Online ReviewsResponding to negative reviews

Written by Jennie Lane. For more information please contact the Search Engine Marketing Team at White Hat Ops –


12 Responses to “HOWTO: Handle Negative Online Business Reviews Like a Pro”

  1. Gen Atkinson says:

    Hi, this is a great article.
    I love the positive attitude that the the customer is entitled to their opinion and that as businesses we need to work with that, not against it.
    When people feel heard and appreciated they will come back to buy again, if it the product wasn't right – the business attitude was.

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  3. Dom Calisto says:

    This is great advice. Be calm, and produce a cleverly well-written and polite response. This usually puts both the reviewer and visitors in good stead. It's good to take poor reviews on the chin and use it as a strength for improving products/services.

  4. Jessica Miller says:

    Reviews can help you improve your business as you would know your weaknesses and be able to make them as your strength.

    Jessica Miller
    Click here

  5. copywriting says:

    Business is just business. Your point is actually a major aspect as to what the customers might respond to the image of the company. Learning critical skills is part of being successful, and apparently there are a lot of thing to consider in order to build a good reputation, especially online. Nevertheless, this has been an extremely wonderful article. Thank you for providing this info.

  6. Matt Brian says:

    I've read recently some people go as far as sending DMCA complaints to the web hosting provider to remove negative reviews. So ridiculously unprofessional and cause a lot of trouble to the reviewer's business as webhosts tend to just close the account than to handle the DMCA stuff. Thanks for the great advice on how to deal with it professionally.

  7. coincollector29 says:

    Is the free listing really worth it… One bad review can kill a business. I know!

  8. SarahHobson says:

    I suspect the majority of reviews I read online are either created by the biz owner if positive or done by their competitors when ngetive.

  9. MarkDelignie says:

    Reviews can help your business if you have a good product. That's why I love to get them and to read them before I buy a product or a service. Without reviews you would be blind to what you buy as was the case before the internet era.

  10. Archie says:

    You can't satisfy everybody. Negative reviews will always be there. The best thing to really do is take it as constructive criticism, improve what's needed, and maybe hire a good seo company in sydney to help market your site.

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