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How Can A Business Deal With A Negative Review?

Reviews Are Some Of The Best Advertising, However …

Online reviews are NOT IN the business owner’s control! A review posted to random search and directory listing websites is a modern day reality for business owners. It is also content that consumers seek out when they wish to know how other people’s experience has been.

Sure the chance of a negative review scares and frustrates business owners, but there is ALSO opportunity here! A simple reputation management plan to pursue and deal with reviews MUST become ‘standard operating business practice’. If so, those annoying listings & citations will become a HUGE competitive advantage!

In fact it is crucial to get proactive about asking for reviews NOT ONLY because

1) a good review is some of the best advertising a business can ever have or 
2) 9 of 10 people won’t get around to giving one unless they are asked, BUT because
3) lots and lots of good reviews will serve as the hedge a business needs for if that bad review ever comes! 

Serious marketers NEED a proactive approach to identify, contact and follow through with happy customers for a review. And be thorough, show them ( step by step ) how to give that review!

Important: Google Map or Search Listings are where reviews are the most visible, so be certain there is a fully verified and optimized set of Google My Business listings in place! Sure Judy’s Book and the like advertise on television and maybe someone somewhere mentioned they use Home Advisor, but given a choice for where one review will be most visible … there simply is no comparison to Google listings. 10X  – maybe 20X more visible, it is not even close! 


The Top Tips For Avoiding AND Dealing With A Bad Review

1. Go Direct!:

Respond privately to the individual before responding publicly, if possible. Apologize and acknowledge a mistake. Maybe, there’s an opportunity to make up for it in exchange for taking the negative review down or for an updated good review. Online reviews are not set in stone, they can always be updated by the reviewer.


  • Never react, never make excuses.
  • Prepare a response to amicably resolve the situation, but have others review it before going live.
  • Identify yourself as the business owner, explain customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance and that given a chance to speak directly you are certain you can resolve the situation.
  • Restate the issue because that person is likely annoyed, they want to know they were heard.
  • Do not motivate or engage in a back and forth battle online for the entire world to see. Arguments or trying to explain how events didn’t occur in the fashion reviewed is not going to help you. CONSUMERS reading the argument will lean toward other consumers when they see it, so you must understand YOU are speaking to the prospective consumer too!
  • Acknowledge a mistake — even if you’re not sure you have made one — apologize and (again) offer to proactively fix the situation.
  • If an agreement can be reached the person will often take the review down, but if not you have still demonstrated goodwill and the way you conduct business for everyone to see!

3. Management Of Consumer Expectations:

Let’s do our very best NEVER to be caught off guard! How? We need to be thorough communicators from the very start. This obvious tip is prevention: a company should carefully manage expectations about what is and what is not being sold. Leave nothing to chance! Some might call it making sure buyers are not set up for confusion or the disappointment that can motivate a bad review in the first place. And folks, drop the ego – we all want support when we buy services and those prospective buyers are no different – so be sure to give them the best you’ve got!

4. Directory Review Policies:

Getting a review removed depends on the listing cos. documented policies and whether or not you can prove they were violated, but its’ worth a careful look. Yelp, for instance, doesn’t support reviews from a competitor. No directory will support false user accounts, so be sure the individual is legitimate or you may be able to have it taken down. And there is usually a way to FLAG a false review in your account dashboard calling the directory out to review it and your reasons for why it should be taken down. 



About Bad Reviews

The negative side of this coin is you CANNOT control all the listings out there witHazardous Negative Reviews And How To Deal With Themh your company’s information, nor the chance anyone will post a review. If the possibility of getting a negative review makes you hesitant, remember that sooner or later almost every business will get one. There are those rare individuals out there who may NOT be fair. Maybe it’s a less than honest ‘reputation management’ firm using nefarious tactics to try to scare up new business. No matter, it’s why all business owners must have a proactive plan ready. Getting reviews MUST be seen as standard business practice!

And by the way, having nothing but glowing comments can make some readers wonder about whether or not your reviews are even legitimate. Your plan for managing that bad review will speak volumes with potential customers (including the unhappy customer) and can have a far greater effect than the bad review itself. We all know some people are impossible to please and consumers get that too. Google listings and other review sites certainly allow you to respond publicly to a negative review so that consumers can see you take customer satisfaction seriously.