If you’ve been online for more than a day you know that reviews and ratings can make or break your business. Most people used to use the phonebook or a referral to find their services but now they are heading online and looking at your company’s reviews before deciding which businesses to contact. Your company needs to be seen in a positive light, and positive reviews may help a customer thinking about hiring you to make that leap.

But reviews have their dark side as well. Despite great customer service or a great end-product, you will eventually receive a bad or negative review. Negative reviews are never good for business owners and could hurt your business, so should you respond to these negative reviews, or let them be?

Should You Respond to Negative Reviews Online?

It is in a business owner’s interest to respond to all online reviews, positive or negative.

By responding to positive reviews, you are further illustrating the level of customer service and care that secured that positive review for you in the first place. Potential customers browsing your reviews can see these responses and that could be the difference in whether you flip that potential customer over to your company or service.

Responses to negative reviews also have their place. A response to a negative review demonstrates that you care about your customers and want to help them work through their issue. Sometimes getting a great response to a bad review is even better than if there was no bad review in the first place! There are some general rules to follow when responding to negative reviews:

  • Never take a combative tone.
  • Be careful when responding to a bad review’s claims, even if they are untrue.
  • Don’t get into long reply threads, if the customer wants to keep talking, contact them directly.
  • Always offer a way for the customer to reach out to you.

Responding to negative reviews is a careful balance of understanding the customer’s issue and responding appropriately. If it helps, have your peer’s review responses to negative reviews before you post to make sure they have a pleasant tone. Responses to both positive and negative reviews show current and potential customers that you take your customer service seriously.