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How to ethically handle negative online reviews

By Yulia Dianova


Customer feedback is incredibly important for any business, so online reviews are very valuable.  E-commerce sites have made it easier for consumers to price-check and do quality comparison for any product or service they are interested in.


Nobody wants to waste money on sub-par purchases, so for customers, reading online reviews is an important step in making their buying decisions. This means that online reviews are critical to businesses because they affect their online reputations and business productivity.


Positive feedback from your clients adds credibility to your business. On the other hand, unfavorable reviews posted by your customers on social media or e-commerce sites can have a seriously negative impact on your business. Bad reviews tend to spread faster than good ones because negative online reviews have more driving force for other consumers.


It’s important to understand that some negative feedback from your clients is unavoidable. It is how you handle those reviews that your business reputation depends upon. Below are six key tips to help businesses deal with negative online reviews.


  1. Stick to the facts. When responding to negative reviews online, just be honest and straightforward. Let consumers know what you are doing or will do in the near future to solve the problem. It is important to share your plan to rectify the customer’s issue.
  1. Respond quickly. It is critical that you respond quickly and publicly to negative reviews. If you waste time before responding, consumers may focus only on your negative reviews and your business image will suffer.
  1. Do not delete negative reviews. Removing customers’ negative feedback is not only unethical, but it can also provoke a bigger negative buzz. Unsatisfied clients and customers will take their negative opinions to platforms and potentially ruin your business reputation. Businesses that only have positive feedback always raise questions about the origin, quality and legitimacy of those reviews. Some negative opinions are unavoidable for any business.
  1. Stay positive and calm when dealing with negative reviews. Use professional and genuine language and a pleasant and helpful tone. Avoid any offensive remarks or comments. It’s always a good idea to make sure anyone authorized to speak on your company’s behalf undergoes spokesperson training so that you can avoid any costly and public gaffes.
  1. Turn negative reviews into positive experiences by engaging with your customers in a constructive conversation and demonstrating that your business is genuine and caring. If you don’t care about the dissatisfaction of your customers, then nothing can save you from the negative backlash coming your way because, frankly, you deserve it.
  1. Use negative reviews to improve your products and services. If you have consistent negative feedback from your clients and customers regarding the same issue, it’s time to take a serious look into your business and make some changes for the better.

Dealing with negative online reviews in an ethical and professional manner will help you understand your public better, improve the quality of your products and services and even boost your business reputation and productivity.

At Axia Public Relations, we care about your online reputation because we know how important it is for your business. That’s why we are ready to provide you with the best tools to grow your business. Download our Online Reputation Management e-book to get started on leveraging your professional reputation to grow your business.

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Yulia.jpgYulia Dianova is a public relations professional who is skilled in building relationships with target audiences. She provides counsel to organizations that seek PR help to further their growth and reach their goals. Yulia earned a master’s degree in public relations management from University of Maryland University College. She is fluent in Russian and English and is always looking for a new challenge.




Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: public relations, online review management

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