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Certainly, you only want positive customer reviews. Internet-savvy shoppers read reviews to make buying decisions. Reviews can make or break you.

Negative reviews can be posted just about anywhere – Google reviews, social media and Web sites.

Bad word-of-mouth and Internet advertising is a killer.

So it behooves you and your business to spot bogus reviews and fight back. With valid negative reviews you need to respond with the customer in mind.

Here’s how:

1. Regularly monitor reviews, and compare all possible sources

You should get a broad overview of your customer reviews.

For instance, check Amazon reviews, your Facebook business page, Google reviews, Quora, Yelp reviews and testimonials.

Sign up for Google alerts about your company to monitor blog reviews. Google your company’s name to see what is said about your business.

Look for consistency in trends and authentic experiences.

2. Study the reviews more than your ratings

Stars can be an indicator about your company, but they don’t tell enough of the reviewers’ comments.

Sometimes reviewers write negative comments for totally irrelevant reasons. You should totally understand each review and then respond appropriately.

3. Evaluate reviews

If you suspect a bad review is bogus, first research the person online.

For example, does the person own a competitive business? What has the person said about other businesses?

If you’re sure the review is bogus, be businesslike but call the person on it.

4. Respond to good or bad reviews

You must respond to every negative review. Be diplomatic with negative reviewers, but state your case.

It’s a good idea to acknowledge and show appreciation for good reviews. You’ll be rewarded with repeat business and will influence other shoppers.

If you’re under siege with valid negative reviews, here’s a hint: 70 percent of those customers are unhappy because they feel your business took them for granted.

Valid bad reviews can be a blessing. Many times unhappy customers won’t complain and simply will buy from your competitors. Thank these people.

5. How to respond to valid, bad reviews

Empathize with the reviewer. Try to make amends.

An apology should be an effective tool to sustain or rebuild a business relationship. However, sometimes apologizes don’t work to improve damaged relationships. Use best practices to make an apology.

If the complaint is about poor customer service, upgrade your processes. Train your staff.

Bury the negative reviews by stepping up your online content marketing and encourage good customers to write reviews.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks for related tips:

Best Practices to Manage Your Global Brand, Web Reputation — As you no doubt know, the digital age has brought new challenges and opportunities. Best practices are critical in order to maximize your Web presence and to manage your online reputation.

HR Management: 3 Values to Deliver Top Customer Service — The three values needed to achieve top customer service are easy-to-understand but arduous to achieve. But if your human resources program adopts and implements these values, you’ll achieve enviable organizational effectiveness – a high performance culture – for strong revenue.

8 Strategies to Enhance Your Customer Service Image — Poor customer service is a salient reason why consumers aren’t loyal to businesses. True, today’s consumers are very demanding. It’s worth noting they’re demanding because they constantly encounter poor customer service.

Improve Your Customer Retention with 6 Digital Tips — Outstanding loyalty programs for stellar customer engagement play an important role to improve your prospects for lifetime customer value. That goes for e-commerce, too.

14 Tips to Profit from Online Customer Reviews For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce.

Will Court’s Bad Review and Studies Slap Yelp into Using Best Practices? — Can we expect a new standard in online consumer reviews? Hopefully, yes, after Yelp’s 2014 court loss and studies that reveal many Yelp’s consumer reviews are bogus.

Marketing Strategies to Maximize Your Holiday Sales — The holidays are an emotional time of year. Consumers spend a disproportionate amount of money during the holidays, so it behooves your business to take advantage of your seasonal revenue opportunities.

Your Best Source for Business Advice: Your Customers — The new economy – with a highly competitive marketplace – is making it becoming harder and harder to for businesses to sustain growth. So customer engagement and word-of-mouth advertising have taken on an increasing importance.

Marketing Tips via Mobile Devices, Reviews, Coupons — Digital marketing opportunities keep growing and growing. For instance, 70 percent of consumers research product reviews while they shop in stores. Ninety percent are relying on their mobile devices as they make in-store buying decisions.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

-Warren Buffett


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.