Disgruntled customers sometimes feel compelled to take to the web to air their grievances. Even the best businesses sometimes get hit with negative reviews and we have coached many over the years on how to best handle things. Most times, negative reviews come when people didn’t get what they want – such as not being able to get a seat at a restaurant immediately without a reservation or not getting legal representation because they didn’t have a legitimate case.

We really feel for our clients when they come to us for advice about what to do about a negative online review. Our clients are so fabulous, it’s hard not to take it personally. Negative reviews hurt.

The most important thing to do if your business gets a negative review is to be on top of it.

Never, ever let a negative review sit. Smart business owners and leaders will proactively and regularly monitor their social media accounts by assigning this task to employees or outsourcing it.

How to Respond to a Negative Review

Responding to the negative review depends upon the review itself. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of making the customer feel heard and understood and inviting a private conversation to find some sort of resolution. Other times, if the review is one-sided, the business might use the review to apologize for the misunderstanding and educate the customer (and review readers) about what happened, without being defensive.

Reviews help businesses build credibility and visibility, which supports sellability. SEO (search engine optimization) experts encourage clients to get reviews, as it helps with search ranking too.

It is also good practice to periodically acknowledge positive reviews, even if it’s simply a comment that says “Thank you!”

Every business will encounter a bad review and it’s important to remember that you will never please everybody, but you do want to show that you care.