How to respond to negative and positive online reviews

Author: Marisa Nguyen Mortgage Consultants Group |

Reverse Mortgage Toronto

Online reviews are a crucial part of building a reputation for your business. In fact, 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business. If you haven’t set-up your business to receive online reviews on Google and Facebook, take a moment to read this article.

It’s important to be ready to respond to reviews. You should make time during your week to check in and respond to any reviews. Below we’ll give you tips on how to respond to negative and positive reviews.

How to handle negative reviews

Unfortunately, negative reviews happen – the best thing you can do is have a plan on handling them when they occur. The best rule of thumb is not respond to negativity with negativity – it’s never a good recipe and you can lose credibility very quickly.

Instead, try these steps when dealing with a bad review:

  1. Respond quickly and with class: As soon as you come across a negative comment respond to it as soon as you can and as professionally as possible. The person who posted that is unsatisfied about a recent experience they had with your company and ignoring them could make it worse. Even if what they wrote is untrue or misconstrued, never ignore their message, it’s your reputation you want to protect, not theirs. For example, if someone writes they tried stopping by a few times and your business is always closed, you can respond by thanking them, sharing your hours of operation and welcoming them to come at any of those times. Not only does this diffuse a misconstrued and exaggerated review, but it turns it in your favour and readers will see your professionalism and know when they should come to your office.
  2. Take it offline: In your response, ask them to email or phone you to discuss the issue. This is so you can handle the matter privately and personally – rather than having an audience. Others will see that you take the effort to make it right.
  3. Learn from the experience: Complaints happen for a reason; a customer feels they were wronged. By correcting those mistakes, you can become better at what you do and reduce the number of future complaints.

Did you know negative reviews can also add authenticity to your business? 82% of shoppers actively seek out negative reviews because a 5-star average rating can appear to be fabricated and not authentic. So, don’t stress, you can leverage both positive and not-so-positive reviews!

How to go about boosting your overall rating
If you find you’re getting a lot of negative reviews or your score is lower than 3 stars, then seek out clients who you know were happy with your service and ask them to leave you a review. Proactively finding happy clients to leave reviews can help turn around a low score.

A handy way of thinking about this: establish a ratio between good reviews to bad ones. For example, if you have 4 good reviews for every bad one (4:1 ratio) or better yet 5:1 ratio, this will boost your overall score. Simply count how many bad reviews you receive and try and boost that score with positive ones by addressing the issues being raised.

Don’t forget to respond to positive reviews!
Make sure you engage with your biggest fans! It’s important to keep in mind that your happy customers took the time to leave a review. Leaving a quick “Thank you” or “It was great doing business with you to!” on their reviews will show them that you really care about their business and they will be more inclined to tell their friends about you.

Make sure you mix up your comments, both in length and what say in your reply. If you write the same thing, then potential clients reading the reviews will think you don’t care as much. A variety of responses shows that you put thought into it and genuinely care.

Always remember: When a person leaves a comment or review about your business that they took the time to do so. Rather than doing a million other things, they decided that the best use of their time at that given moment was to inform others about your business, good or bad. Showing that you care about their feedback goes a long way towards building a solid network of clients.