Written by Kiersten Leone. People have been sharing their opinions on products and businesses since the beginning of time. People like to know how others feel about something before they waste their own time, energy, and money so they don’t end up disappointed. This form of advertising is called word of mouth (WOM) and can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. Across social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter and other platforms like Yelp this gives customers a whole new way to publicly advocate or oppose your business. Thus both, old and new businesses can be hurt by negative reviews. One bad experience can turn away a repeat customer and cause new customers to stray away. How you deal with a bad review says a lot about who you are as a person and business owner. Here are our best tips for dealing with negative feedback from your customers! via GIPHYDo Your Research First and foremost once you see a bad review you may instantly just want to apologize and move forward, but that is not always the best idea. When you see a bad review you need to turn into Sherlock Holmes and do a little investigating. As you carefully read the review look for employee names, dates, times, any other other important information that you can use to personally assess the issue at hand. Another step you may want to take is to research the reviewer. You want to see if they always write negative reviews, how many followers they have, and how other businesses have handled their negative feedback. In some cases, these people could just be “trolls” and have a long track record of never being satisfied no matter where they are. via GIPHYHow to Actually Respond After you have heard their complaints and have your facts straight it’s time to respond. Which may I also add, you should always respond to both positive and negative reviews. There are two routes you can take in this step which is “I’m sorry we messed up” or “I’m sorry you feel that way”. Based on what you’ve gathered from their review and your companies side of the story it will be obvious which route to go. When responding, be sure to keep your cool, stay civilized and offer a solution when necessary. Be sure not to take reviews too personally and always remain transparent and honest when responding. Most cases can be a he-said-she-said moment, but it’s always better to put your best foot forward. How you respond can potentially escalate the situation and can also be screenshotted and shown all over social media. via GIPHYListen to Feedback After all is said and done, the review will most likely remain online, especially if it’s on Yelp or Facebook where as a business owner you cannot remove a review. Even if the customer does not respond to your attempt at rectifying the situation you will know you did your best to help it. Be sure to take reviews and feedback whether online or offline and incorporate it into your business. Sometimes people leave negative reviews just so their situation doesn’t happen to the next person or because they want to be heard, not because they want to see your business fail. Most complaints are easy fixes that will better your business in the future if you take their suggestions. via GIPHYFlush Out the Bad Reviews If you find that your customers’ experiences have improved dramatically but you still have low stars on Google, Yelp, or Facebook, you can always push people to write reviews. Now we’re not saying threaten your customers because that would be bad, but rather put on a sticker on your door with your social media platforms or add a survey option at the bottom of customers receipts. People love having their voices be heard and reminding people to let them share their opinions is a great way to push out negative reviews and fill social media with all the positive feedback from your customers. Reward your Reviews Creating a survey or reminding people to write reviews sometimes isn’t enough. You can always create a short-term campaign where you can encourage your customers to write reviews. By creating a campaign you can specifically target certain people as well as get a specific message across so there is no misinterpretation. For expert advice on how to create your own campaign to get better publicity email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!