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What to do when you get a bad review

Online reviews sites help customers connect with businesses all over the world. As well as sharing their experiences, many people use them to research future purchases or holidays. Review sites can be brilliant marketing tools – but what should you do when your business gets a bad review?

We asked Rosie Akenhead, Local Business Outreach Manager at Yelp, and Helena Egan, Director of Industry Relations at TripAdvisor, how to turn bad reviews into positive conversations.

1. Respond quickly

Rosie Akenhead: Any consumer, anywhere in the world, is able to write a review online about a business. If a customer was physically stood in front of you, you wouldn’t ignore them – so you shouldn’t ignore them online either.

2. Thank them for the feedback

Helena Egan: This applies to feedback that is negative and positive. In a study we conducted, 74 percent of reviewers stated that they write reviews because they want to share a good experience with others, but there may be negative feedback from time to time. Start by expressing appreciation to guests who have taken the time to write about their experience with your business.

3. Show that you’re listening

Helena: This is your chance to explain what has been done to address problems so that the reviewer and potential guests are reassured that concerns are taken seriously, and that you are willing to resolve problems. However, it’s important not to take a defensive tone – responses should remain polite and professional.

4. Treat feedback as free market research

Helena: Each review is a window into your customer’s experience. Consideration, communication and implementation are how you turn feedback into a better experience for all future customers, which can have a significant influence on ratings, ranking and customer satisfaction.

5. Feel free to walk away

Rosie: If the review isn’t providing you information you can use, remember that you can’t please 100% of your customers, 100% of the time. All local businesses deal with complaints in some capacity. It’s okay (and completely understandable) to sometimes walk away from a fire-fuelled customer if you feel there is no way of turning around the situation.

Helena: You can submit a concern and remove a listing if you think someone has posted to the wrong business, if it violates the site guidelines or if the review is suspicious.

Now that you know how to handle a less than glowing review of your business or products, here are some top tips and tools for getting into the reviews game.

Little memos and incentivising

Encourage your customers to get involved – you can use marketing tools such stickers if you have a physical store or think about adding reminders to marketing materials such as business cards and emails.

Tool up

Lots of sites have additional features that will help you to get the word out about your review page profile – some sites have widgets that you can add to your site or apps you can add to your Facebook page profile

Stay ahead

Some sites offer webinars or have special websites where you can learn more about best practice, latest news and trends to help you to understand what the best performing businesses are doing to keep customers coming back.




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