How to Handle Negative Online Reviews of Your Small Business

The Internet has made the world a much smaller place. This holds true for small businesses, perhaps more than any other entities on earth. Facebook, Twitter, and online review sites have made it easier for people to air their grievances with small businesses in an instant.

In many cases, these instances leave small business owners scrambling to attempt to safeguard their reputations they’ve worked so hard to build. What are your options, as a small business owner, when people post bad reviews about your business online?

Do Not Ignore Negative Reviews

Negative reviews will not go away if you ignore them. On the World Wide Web, they linger forever — often gaining more traction over time. You must respond to the reviews in a proactive and positive manner otherwise, the situation only becomes worse for your business beginning with the first negative review.

Create a Thoughtful Non-Reactionary Response

It’s detrimental to your business to ignore the bad reviews of your business. People who read those reviews often see this as indifference. The key here is to avoid reactionary responses — especially in light of the fact that you may not have all the details of what actually transpired.

Acknowledge Customer’s Pain

Offer a sympathetic ear. Sometimes, this is all the customer wants. Let the customer know he or she has your undivided attention and that you will be investigating and making changes so that this problem doesn’t happen again in the future. Use this situation as a learning experience and will use this to improve service or product design in the future.

Solve the Problem

Sometimes, this it’s easier to solve the problem in theory than in practice.  In many cases, customers only want someone to acknowledge their problem and offer a solution. Offer one that works for your business (deliver free service, provide a discount on future purchases, replace defective product, offer refund, send gift card, etc.). This lets the customer know you’re serious about making it right. 

Consult With Your Business Insurance Agency

You’d be surprised at the wealth of knowledge you can gain from your business insurance agency when it comes to protecting the reputation of your business. Consult with them before making your next move to find out what your options are and come up with a plan that will serve your business best.

Reputations are important for small businesses. In the light of instant access to a venting ground, small businesses face bigger challenges than ever before when it comes to defending that reputation. Using the advice above to take action at least lets the public know that you’re acknowledging the mistakes your business has made in the past and making an effort to correct them. That is often more than enough.