Before we make suggestions, please let us share some perspective on reviews.

First, remember that it is quite natural for reviews of your business to not all be positive. Also to be expected is that many of your reviews you will disagree with. Negative reviews can often be difficult to read, especially if you’re the owner. When you receive a negative review, bear in mind the following:

DON’T make a mountain of a mole hill. Poor reviews happen to even the best businesses. In fact, a few negative reviews amongst the positive, tend to enhance the credibility of the reviews in general by demonstrating the integrity of the particular review site’s environment. That said, if you see a negative sentiment trend, you may want to take this feedback to heart and consider ways to improve your business.

DON’T lash out at the people who have written poor reviews. This goes along the same lines of the old saying, “The customer is always right”. Even though a negative review may be unfounded and you want to state your case, the community of reviewers will not take kindly to a business yelling at one of their peers.

DO reply your customers using the best available forum (e.g. Yelp for Business Owners). Thank your customers for writing about your business but use caution when replying to a customer that gave your business a poor review. It is important to put yourself in the mindset of your customer. Be careful that your tone does not come across as defensive.

DO take the feedback seriously, but remember that each review is just one single opinion, and it’s the entire set of reviews together that really matters most.

Responding to positive reviews is also something worth consideration. Establishing a warm human connection with your reviewer can be amazingly positive for your business. It will allow you to learn from, and build goodwill with, your most vocal customers. This may sound easy, so please remember the following:

When contacting a positive reviewer, your intent should only be to deliver a thank you and let them know you care. Don’t be tempted to offer gift certificates, mailing lists, special invites, or request them to evangelize on your behalf. While a gift or invitation can be a nice idea, it may also be looked at as a bribe or payment for the review. Remember, this person already likes your business, just use the opportunity to thank them and introduce yourself.

Most of these review sites will require you to have an account before replying to a review. All of these accounts are free, allow you to take ownership of your business listing and are well worth the effort. We can easily create these for you, contact us to learn how.