Even in a world were AI and machine learning is embraced, the adage “people buy from people” still stands. No matter what aspects of your online presence you have automated, what people say about your business is more compelling than your best marketing campaign. Google reviews are key to your business’ reputation. Positive reviews can boost your credibility. Negative reviews can put potential customers off. 
Google reviews are influential. They influence the potential purchasing decisions of customers, and they can influence your search engine rankings too. But don’t let that frighten you. Yes, a bad review can cause a scratch in the pristine paintwork, but it isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can be an opportunity for your business. You just need to know how to respond. 

Stay Calm and analyse the review 

Nobody likes to see their company besmirched. Reading a bad review can make you feel defensive or frustrated. That’s a perfectly natural response. However, take a step back for a moment. 
It is crucial to remain calm and analyse the feedback. First and foremost, if the review is legitimate and not some bored troll finding funny things to say to the internet, this presents an opportunity for improvement. Read the Google review carefully and pick out the specific concerns raised by the customer. 

Don't leave it too long to respond to a negative review 

Once you have had time to analyse the issue, respond. No matter how unfair or embarrassing you think the review is. Most of the time, beneath the cutting language there is a legitimate concern. 
The longer you leave it, the worse it can be. Customers appreciate knowing that their feedback is valued. Aim to respond within 24 hours of the review being posted. This also shows potential customers that you are proactive in addressing concerns. 

Personalise Your Response 

Make sure, when responding, you talk directly to the reviewer. Address them by name, if you remember anything about their experience, directly mention it.  
Let them know they are memorable and that their concerns are important. Personal approaches always reflect that your business cares about each customer and their opinions. 

Apologise and accept responsibility 

An apology, no matter how unfounded the negative review may seem, will go a long way to diffuse the situation. Where possible, try to act accountable for the bad experience, and demonstrate a willingness to rectify the situation. Remember that even though a customer cannot respond to you on Google, they can change their review if they are satisfied with the way you have responded. 

Offer a Solution 

Many negative Google reviews are resolvable. Propose any practical solutions you can conjure. Not only will it increase the chances of improving the relationship between yourself and the reviewer, but it also demonstrates your positive intentions to any potential customer scoping out your business. 

Maintain Professionalism 

The temptation, for many businesses, is to fight fire with fire. A scathing itch often prompts a defensive itch, and that can only make matters worse. Avoid that urge to drop a cutting word bomb for everyone to see. Also, avoid blaming the customer. Your response to a negative review has to continue to reflect your business’ values and ethics. 
Leave a negative review

Learn and Improve 

When the dust has settled, remember that every negative review contains valuable insight to help you identify areas that could be improved. Can you make any changes in your processes to avoid similar issues in the future? If so, enact them, and later you can edit your response to the customer to demonstrate exactly how their feedback has helped you provide better customer service. 

A negative Google review is not catastrophic 

A bad Google review happens. Unfortunately, nobody can get everything right all the time. And yes, a bad experience can leave a bad taste in the mouth. Your customers can only judge your business on the experience they have received. But their cutting analysis doesn’t spell disaster for your business. In fact, by responding quickly, empathetically, and professionally you may have turned that negative review into a springboard for growth. 
How you handle criticism speaks volumes about your business’ customer-centric approach and dedication to continuous improvement. 
For more information, contact us on 01604 698 948 or email hello@tj-marketing.co.uk with any enquiries and we will be happy to help. 
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