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It was bound to happen. Your business received a negative review. It’s out there for the world to see. You might feel frustrated and misunderstood and unsure how to move forward. Take a deep breath and follow the advice below to preserve and in many instances enhance your brand’s online reputation.

1. Respond Promptly

Assign a captain in your business to monitor and respond to your online reviews. It’s particularly important that negative reviews are acknowledged as quickly as you don’t want the perception to be that you don’t care. The review captain should check review sites on a daily basis and have clear instructions on how to respond to negative reviews. There are many reputation management sites out there that will send email or text notifications each time you receive a review.

Read these instructions on how to set up notifications for your Google My Business reviews

2. Do Not Correct or Argue

Although we know it’s tempting, do not argue or attempt to correct the reviewer, even if their review is blatantly incorrect, rude, or antagonistic. This simply adds fuel to the fire and will oftentimes inspire the reviewer to continue to engage. Your current and prospective customers will admire your restraint.

3. Be Brief, Polite, and Move the Conversation Offline

Thank the reviewer for providing their feedback. Let the reviewer know that all their feedback is important to you and you’d like to learn more about why they feel the way that they do.  Ask what you can do to make the situation right.

Use the reviewer’s name in your response. Then provide contact information of someone in the business who can help sort the issue out offline.

Example: Hi Jessica, thank you for taking the time to provide feedback. We’re sincerely sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with the wait time at our restaurant. We’d like to learn more about your situation and what we can do to make it right. My name is Meghan. I’m the front of house manager. You can reach me at 503-123-4567. I look forward to speaking with you.

4. Recognize the Silver Lining

It might be hard to recognize in the moment, but responding graciously to an online negative review can help to enhance your online reputation. How you respond under difficult circumstances speaks the most about you. Your patrons and prospective patrons will recognize that you took the high road and they’ll respect you for it.