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Consumers have a range of options to voice their opinion of businesses and companies. Once just in the realm of restaurant reviews and feedback on bad services, all companies are now open to public comments.

49% of consumers state that they are more likely to visit a business after reading a positive online review, and 69% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

But what about when there is an online post or reviews that is negative?
If you receive a negative online post or review, you have to make a decision, not as to IF you should respond, but as to HOW you should respond.

Firstly, you should respond immediately and directly ensuring your response is empathetic and direct and not weighing into an argument. Remember, just as their review will be found be potential new customers, so will your response so turn this negative review into a positive.

How do I respond to a negative comment or review?

  • Be objective – read through any negative comments of the review and try and understand where your business went wrong in the eyes of the customer. Demonstrate strong empathy - You understand they are dissatisfied. Even if you don't agree with what they are claiming, try to avoid a debate. Create a meaningful, personal dialogue so you have a grasp on exactly what caused their dissatisfaction.
  • Be Honest – if this is experience is negative, is this something your business has been guilty of before and therefore potentially damaging your reputation with customers. • Use your real name and provide a way to contact you (if possible). It’s very important that potential customers see that a REAL person is responding to the review.
  • Write your reply with a calm voice and in a sincere tone. Use this as an opportunity to gain insights about your business from a customer and ensure you are sincere in your communications
  • Don’t make promises you can’t follow through on. Don’t offer anything you aren’t willing to actually follow through on.

The key to remember is that a negative online comment or review can be turned into a positive – its how you handle it that matters.

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