How To Prevent and Deal with Negative Reviews

How To Prevent and Deal with Negative Reviews

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Positive Online Reviews; What is Not To Love?

When all things go as planned and your social media marketing strategy pays off, you can expect positive online reviews.

It's a great feeling to be a social media manager and to get email notifications of positive Google reviews, 5-star Facebook review, and excellent Yelp reviews.

Knowing your hard work is paying off for your client is …exhilarating.

But what if it does not?

What happens to you, and your client, when a steady stream of positive reviews is halted by a lousy 1-star review?

Today, we explore how to deal with negative reviews left for your client by their unhappy and dissatisfied customers.
We will also look at what steps you as a social media manager could possibly consider taking to prevent (most) negative reviews.

First things first, how should you deal with negative online reviews?

How To Deal With Negative Reviews

The experts all agree.
Here is the simple three-step approach to dealing with negative reviews.

Step 1. Be aware
Step 2. Acknowledge & Respond
Step 3. Fix

These steps seem so simple but there's a bit more to it, so let's explore each step a little further!

Step 1. If you don't monitor your social media sites, you might miss the positive and negative reviews that come in. Therefore, the first step is to always be aware and monitor your platforms. There are several ways you can raise your overall awareness about what is being said about you online, including setting up a Google Alert for the business name or product. Next, having access to the email account the notifications about reviews go to, is important. If you don't have access to that email account, make sure your client knows to notify you and forward you these emails. Lastly, monitor your social sites and periodically do a social media audit, adding ‘reviews' to your checklist.

Step 2. Even if you initially don't know how to respond to a claim or negative review, at least acknowledging the reviewer and the review is a great first step. Hitting the ‘like' or ‘wow' button on Facebook signals you've seen the review. On other platforms, respond by saying something like “Thank you for leaving us feedback about your experience.” or “We appreciate your patience while we check into this event.” Next, we suggest, as do most experts, you take the conversation offline as soon as possible. Do this by asking for more information about the event to be sent to email or if on Facebook, to Facebook Messenger.

Step 3. Lastly, if you can, fix the issue privately. Issue a refund, give something for free, issue an apology etc. In other words, take action to make things right if you were in the wrong. Caution: never, ever offer details of compensation publically! This only serves to encourage others to ‘complain' to get something for free.

Is Ignoring A Negative Review Ever an Option?


It's always an option.

Not the best option.

Not a smart option.

But an option nevertheless!

Case in point; when I searched for a case study or blog article that referenced ‘ignoring negative reviews' I came up empty-handed.

I found not a single article that referenced ignoring negative reviews as a viable option! 

become a social media manager

Why Is Responding To A Negative Review So Important?

Here is one take on this:

You can attract new customers with your thoughtful, engaged responses, and you can boost retention rates, which have a radical impact on your bottom line.


Setting Review Policies and Auto Responses

As a social media manager, it is a good idea to talk through ‘what if' scenarios with your clients before negative reviews come in.

Create a written policy for responding to reviews, both positive and negative. You might even want to pre-write some auto responses to send out when negative reviews come in. That way your response is timely and will make the customer/client feel cared for vs waiting for a business owners' response.

Additional items to add to such a policy would include

  • timeline for when to escalate the issue to higher management
  • what steps can be taken to right a wrong
  • how and to whom to report any and all online reviews
  • a current listing of all online platforms with reviews for your business
  • log in access to review sites

Turning a Negative Review into a Positive Experience!

Did you know that even negative reviews can turn into positive experiences?

Reread this comment we found after Social Media Pro's response to a 1-star review.

This sold me on this course! Bravo ?

By responding to a negative review, and making several important points, we created a new customer!

Don't forget that so many more people are watching you online than you can ever imagine. Your audience is not just your circle of friends (or fans), but their friends and their friends as well. When nothing (good or bad) happens they stay hidden, but when things go south they come out of the woodwork and have an opinion about everything!

Preventing Negative Reviews Going Forward; Is That Possible?

You can do everything right and still get a negative review.

There are people who leave reviews for the wrong company, the wrong Facebook Page or for the wrong reasons (“I didn't eat at your restaurant at all, but I am giving your food a 1-star review because you wouldn't take my last minute reservation for a party of 25”)

There certainly are things you can do to try to minimize the number of negative reviews you get.
This includes

  • empowering in-store employees and online customer service reps to resolve issues before they escalate
  • creating a positive company culture
  • offering amazing perks and treating your customers like royalty
  • using a CRM

While it is not entirely possible to prevent negative online reviews, if you are diligent in monitoring and you have customer service reps who care, you can prevent a large percentage of negative reviews.

Additional Resources for Managing Online Reviews

Here are several additional resources you can use to set your own policies for reviews

We wish you and your business much success and many 5-star reviews!

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