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bad-online-reviewsOffering the opportunity for customers to post online reviews is a great way to engage your clients and offer valuable feedback that will hopefully lead to more sales. However, you are bound to get some negative feedback at some point. What’s the best way to handle it?

Prevention is the Best Cure

This saying certainly applies in the customer review arena. The best way to prevent a bad review is to not get one. You can’t avoid all negative feedback, but you can reduce the amount of negative reviews by viewing each customer as a potential reviewer. Consider sending an e-mail asking for feedback before the customer has a chance to post a review. Ideally, you can find out about complaints quickly and resolve them without getting a negative review.

Respond Personally

Refrain from posting something about the review on your social media sites. When you get a bad review, be proactive about responding in a private forum, such as e-mail or a simple phone call. Let the disgruntled customer voice his or her complaints. Be careful about coming off defensive. Ask questions to get the complete story and make them feel like you genuinely want to resolve the issue. End by offering a refund or discount on another purchase.

Take the Feedback to Heart

You may think there was a misunderstanding or your business was unfairly judged. However, view bad feedback as a lesson to be learned. Do some digging to find out where the misunderstanding took place. Does the customer have a legitimate complaint about a product that needs to be addressed? Is so, what steps should be taken? Rest assured that if one person complained about a product, there are other customers who were dissatisfied and did not post negative feedback. Instead, they simply told their friends not to purchase the product. Getting to the root of the complaint is in everyone’s best interests.

Online reviews are today’s “word-of-mouth” marketing. Customers take the opinions of others seriously. Handling negative feedback appropriately can help save a customer and attract new ones.