A large number of customers these days decide to buy the products and services of a business based upon online reviews alone. In fact, every company and business knows that negative online reviews about their service or products can have a severe impact on their reputation – one that might be impossible to recover from.

There is no way these reviews can be stopped, but the way you manage them matters the most. If you handle them well, you can actually nip the problem in the bud and improve the reputation of your business in the process.

Here are four best practices to deal with negative online reviews and turn the negatives into positives for your business.

1.    Assess the Issue

The first thing you must do before responding is to assess the issue. Recognize why the client has given a negative review and what has led to their discontent. Once you have addressed the underlying problem, you can respond with a convincing explanation, and even offer a way to turn their frown upside down.

2.    Offer an Apology

A client giving a negative review implies that he/she was not satisfied with your services. The best way to respond is to begin with an apology and show that you regret their dissatisfaction. You can apologize by saying, “we are sorry the services were up to the mark and we were unable to meet your expectations”. An apology can show your clients that you value their voice and recognize that improvements can be made with the services you offer.

3.    Offer to Contact for Details

Sometimes, it is appropriate to ask for further details from the customer about the problems they faced, as other clients may have experienced the same. This can improve your services, as information from the client will help you understand where you may be at fault. To do this, you can say, “We would like to discuss the issue you faced so we can improve our services and satisfy your needs, kindly email us at….or call us at…”

4.    Promise to Solve the Issue

Since your client is not satisfied, you must assure them that the issue they faced will be resolved and improvements will be made. Clients are not always looking for an explanation or a defensive argument, especially if you’re not offering a solution. What they want to hear is that you are working to resolve the problems they faced. You can say something like, “we are currently working to improve the client dealing system, next time you will not face the issue. We hope you’ll give us another chance”.

So, whenever you get a negative online review do not think that it will ruin the reputation of your business. Rather remember “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade”.

Use these negative reviews to your favour and give such a response that not only the client who posted the review is satisfied but all those potential clients who are reading the review get a sense of the value you give to the opinion of your clients. This above all will stand you out as a business who puts customer experience at its forefront.

Barbara-Anne is the owner of New Media Managers, a boutique digital agency in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.  She founded New Media Managers to help overwhelmed local business owners, like you, protect and manage your online line presence so you can get more customers, serve your existing customers, and keep the customers you already have.