You know what they say … It can take years to create a solid online reputation but only one post or bad review to knock it down. The goal is to never let it get to that point.

You work hard to run your business and considering the highly digital and easily accessible world we live in where “cancel culture” is prominent, your online reputation can literally make or break you.

Today’s article discusses how to repair your online reputation and prevent issues from arising in the future. 

Your online reputation … why it matters!

You put a lot of time and effort into running your business. You probably wear many hats as well and at times it can be overwhelming. The last thing on your mind is to check online and see how your reputation is doing.

Typically, you only know when something is going wrong when an outside source draws your attention to it.

The good news is that you’re not alone. Every business will at some point in their operation, experience a bad review. The key is not to have a knee jerk reaction or panic about it.


How To Deal With Negative Reviews Online


1. Is The Negative Review Real?

It’s important as a first step to determine whether or not your negative review is authentic. First, check the name of the reviewer. Is this a customer you’re familiar with?

Next, check over the review itself, does the situation they are complaining about sound familiar? If you can’t find the reviewer in your system and you have no idea what they are talking about, chances are the review isn’t about you. It could be a simple mistaken identity for example another company with a similar name or it could also be a competitor trying to knock you down from your 5 star pedestal.

Here’s an example of how you can respond professionally but empathetically:

“I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience. Unfortunately, we can’t locate your account in our system. Could you please double check to ensure you have the right company and contact us at __________ so we can make this right.”

2. Is it Relevant?

Sometimes your customer just slips you a 1 star review without any explanation. When this happens, it’s important to once again be tactful (but empathetic).

“Sorry to hear you’ve had a negative experience. Please contact us at _________ or email ________. We would like the opportunity to make things right.”

3. Did you truly mess up? (It’s ok, we all do!)

Sometimes, the negative review is warranted. Hey, we are human and you can’t be at your best all of the time. The longer you deny, deflect, or dodge the situation, the more upset your client/customer will become (not to mention publicly it will reflect badly on anyone considering giving you their business).

The goal is to take the conversation offline so you can handle things in a more private manner. Here’s an example as to how you can respond:

“I’m sorry to hear about your negative experience. It’s important that our customers are happy and we want to work with you to make things right. We’ve escalated your complaint to our Management Team and someone will be reaching out to you to discuss the situation.”

4. What if nothing works?

Sometimes, you just can’t make them happy. The last thing you want to do is leave a negative review out there without a response but you also don’t want to respond in a negative way.

Tread carefully and try not to turn the situation into a back and forth public conversation. If you’ve tried everything and all else fails you can respond to them but also shed some light on how you attempted to remedy the situation.

“I’m sorry we weren’t able to find a resolution. Our customer’s happiness has always been our #1 priority. We provided you with a refund and have placed a gift card on your account if you choose to give us another try. We are sorry to see you go!”