Negative Reviews and Brand Management

With the Internet at all consumers’ fingertips, news spreads fast. This can be to the advantage or disadvantage of business owners.

Ten years ago, one customer would tell their 10 closest friends about their experience at a business. However, today they are able to reach 20 million people with the press of a button. With review profiles like Yelp and Google, consumers have the power to spread their opinion quickly whenever they deem it necessary.

Now that the power in the consumer’s hands, a business must be prepared to make customer service their main priority as a part of online brand management. If customers feel a connection to you and your brand, they will return the favor with brand loyalty and positive feedback.

However, no matter how careful you are, it is impossible to please everyone. Negative reviews are inevitable. Although you can’t control the negative reviews that come in, you can choose how you respond.

Despite the frustration negative reviews bring, they can give you invaluable feedback about your business. Absorbing negative reviews allows you to take true, honest feedback and make valuable improvements to your business—overall increasing customer satisfaction.

Below are tips on how to constructively handle negative reviews in your brand management strategey:

Stay Calm

It is only natural for your initial response to a negative review to be anger. Because your business is your baby, it’s easy to become defensive. However, before pressing “send” with a defensive and aggressive response, take a step back. Take some time to process the comments and create a response that is considerate, understanding, and resourceful.

Don’t Take It Personally

Due to the time, sweat, and tears a owner puts into a business, negative comments can easily cut to the bone. However, you must realize the person leaving the review isn’t attacking you personally. Although the comments aren’t always packaged in a constructive way, you can use them constructively. If you look at the negative reviews as an opportunity, you will be able to improve your business to better fit your target market’s needs.

If you are a business owner who takes all comments personally, it could be helpful to put someone else in charge of responding to negative reviews. By giving someone you trust the responsibility of responding, the consumer will receive a response that is calm and from a constructive point of view.

Reply Every Time

In order to receive a responsible reputation online, make sure you are responding to every review—every time. Whether the review is a 1-star or 5-star review, thanking the reviewer for taking the time to visit your business and leaving feedback shows your appreciation for the chance to impression them. In addition, consistent responses demonstrate that you are a responsive business owner. Occasionally, a constructive response to a 1-star review will be even more powerful than a 5-star review itself. If consumers see you care about other’s opinions and improving your business, they will be more willing to support your mission.

With this increase in customer communication, customers expect to be heard and understood. The growing popularity of sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook make it more important now than ever to have a solid online brand management strategy. Instead of being afraid of negative reviews, use the comments as a way to correct internal problems and show dedication to your customers.

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