How to deal with negative reviews

Negative reviews happen. You can never satisfy every single customer that walks through your door (physical or digital) no matter how hard you try, it’s just one of those things.
There is something more important than the negative review itself, and that’s how you deal with the review. So, without further delay, here are a few tips on how to deal with those negative reviews . . .

Don’t run around and panic


Do not panic when you get a negative review. Panicking ultimately will achieve nothing and even more likely will result in making the situation a whole lot worse. Always remember it’s the way you respond that really matters, not necessarily the original review.
When you panic you act irrationally. Make sure you take a step back and think before you speak, even if it means drafting the reply a couple of times before you post. Trust me your reply will be all the better for it.

Don’t give in to your fight or flight instincts

So you’ve not panicked, that’s a good first step. It’s also important not to either get into a fist fight or just to ignore the review and hope that it goes away (because it will not).
Running away never solves anything, especially these days with reviews being online, you can run, but you cannot hide. The review will still be there, and the longer you leave it the worse it will become. ALWAYS RESPOND!
A fist fight will only end in disaster. I’ve seen way too many social media posts and screenshots of angry business owners digitally shouting at their customers. These posts have been shared thousands of times not only locally, but around the world. Arguing online will only exacerbate an already to ideal situation.

Manners cost nothing, but mean a lot

When you do respond (In a non-argumentative way) make sure you are always polite. Respect is a big deal to most people in general, but even more so to a customer. Respect their views even if you don’t entirely agree.
Especially when talking online it’s easy to mistake the tone in which a person is speaking. That’s why you need to be polite and courteous. As i’ve mentioned above, don’t try taking them on in fight, and don’t run away or bury your head in the sand. Make sure you respond, and respond politely, most of the time that will be reciprocated and tension will be diffused.

Take things offline

Taking the conversation offline is always good (make sure you always leave a public comment though so that people can see you’ve made the effort to reach out). When you take things offline, try to reach a personal compromise that is amicable for both you and the reviewer.
Do always remember though that just because you are having a non-public conversation, it doesn’t mean that the conversation will stay that way. Good or bad, the reviewer can share the offline conversations (and many have), so be aware what you say and how you say it because this could always come back to bite you!

Give them a little hug

Hugs make a lot of things better, even virtual hugs. Make the customer feel valued. Acknowledge their anger/annoyance. Offer them a solution. When you can empathise and offer potential solutions you will be well on your way to turning their frown upside down.
That may not satisfy every customer, but at least you’ll show everyone else that care, and you are willing to go over and above to make a customers experience the best it possibly can be.