Ask the Experts | Responding to Negative Online Reviews

Question: How should I as the owner deal with negative online reviews?

Gary Elekes; Founder, EPC Training:

The question of online reviews is all about making sure you have somebody else answering the question other than the owner. I think owners take the review process personally, especially a negative review. It’s an extension of our own egos. The most important thing is to have a professional do it – someone in your organization who is good at communication or pay a third-party organization to respond.

First of all, identify when negative reviews happen and then respond. The owner certainly has the opportunity to review whatever the response is but as a general rule, it’s best to have somebody that’s not directly tied to the brand respond to it. Collect the information from it, find out what happened, what the remediation is, and then post.

The second part of that question is, people ask if they should even respond to it. Responding to a comment often raises that comment to the top but as long as you have a legitimate response, it’s always appropriate to answer. Don’t allow a consumer who’s in a negative frame of mind to control the message, especially regarding your brand. Even though you might not have a great response, the idea is that you’re showing that you care about your customers and you care about your brand. It gives the customer the idea that you’re a customer-satisfaction-type company.

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