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Reading through third-party reviews has become an important part of the buying process for customers these days.

No matter what you do and what industry you are involved in, there is a good chance that customers will be leaving reviews about your business somewhere. This is great, because positive reviews are a powerful form of social proof that can help to give your business a boost.

But what about the negative reviews?

Unfortunately, all businesses will receive some negative reviews. There is just no way around it, and there is nothing you can do to avoid picking up a few. After all, you can’t keep everyone happy all the time.

But you must not worry too much about negative reviews. In fact, you can even turn them around and turn them into a business asset if you’re careful.

Here’s how.

Show How Seriously You Care About Your Customers

Every business owner hates seeing a negative review on online review sites. There is nothing worse than a big one-star review publicly splashed all over a review site for all the world to see, a blemish on your perfect record.

But the fact that the review is in the public eye provides you with an opportunity to show other potential customers just how much you care about them.

In fact, you can use it as an opportunity.

Start by finding the comment or review quickly by using a reputation management tool like Chatmeter. You don’t want to let reviews sit around for days before reacting, and a fast response time is crucial.

Then reply directly to the comment. Apologize for the negative experience, and explain that you want to help resolve the situation.

If the customer does not accept and tries to turn it into a public dispute, you may want to shift the focus to a private conversation. But by making a clear show that you want to help your customers, you will be showing other potential customers that their opinion matters, that  their experience matters, and that you are a business to be trusted.

This can be great for your brand.

You may even find that the situation can be resolved quickly and easily. The person who left the negative review may change their original review, and they could even turn into a loyal customer. They may then tell their story to others about how you helped them, boosting your reputation further.

Everyone understands that things go wrong from time to time, even with the very best companies. The odd negative review is not going to put people off doing business with you, but how you respond to that review could very well help generate more business.

Use Negative Reviews to Improve Your Business

Most businesses would agree that you need online reviews these days. And while some negative reviews will be completely unfair, most of them will merely be criticism of something that clearly isn’t working.

Don’t run from criticism—embrace it instead.

You can use criticism to work out what is going wrong and to make improvements to your service. You may already ask your customers for feedback on their experiences, and negative reviews are just another form of feedback.

If numerous customers leave negative comments about how slow your delivery is, this is not something to ignore. Instead, use this information to make changes. Find out what is going wrong and how you can improve it.

This will lead to not only more positive reviews, but more positive customer experiences, more recommendations, and more repeat customers.

Take Full Responsibility

Honesty is refreshing. People—your customers—love honesty in businesses. So when you do something wrong, when you make a mistake, own up to it.

When a service falls well below expectations, don’t try to hide it. Don’t try to bury it. If you do, it could come back and hurt you even more.

Instead, admit the mistake. State clearly that you are going to improve the service, that you understand it is unacceptable, that you take your performance seriously, that you want to provide the best you can.

Customers will thank you for it—and you may just convince them to return to your business.

Don’t Be Scared of Negative Reviews

Negative reviews don’t always have to mean doom and gloom for your business. No one wants to see negative reviews, but how you deal with them can make all the difference.

These are some of the ways that you can take ownership of your negative reviews and turn them around to your advantage, so make sure you start taking your reviews seriously.

That means seeking them out, keeping a close eye on what people are saying about your business, and reacting to negative reviews quickly and professionally.

Then you can start to take advantage of them rather than living in fear of every negative review you get.

About the Author:

Collin Holmes, founded Chatmeter, Inc in 2009 and serves as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Holmes is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside and graduated with an MBA from San Diego State University. Prior to Chatmeter, Mr. Holmes served as Vice President of Product Management and Director of Product Marketing for xAD, Inc. (LocalAdXchange) (also known as V-enable). Mr. Holmes comes with a couple decades of overseeing and developing product roadmaps, business development and managing the process of driving applications to market.



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