Yes, you read that correctly. While the common, knee-jerk reaction is to assume that getting a negative review (or more than one) is a death-sentence for your business, it’s time to think again. Negative reviews are actually great opportunities; handle them the right way and they can do wonders to build your company’s reputation online. In fact, “Negative reviews can add credibility to your positive reviews,” according to Search Engine Land. After all, haven’t you ever wondered about the legitimacy of a site with 100% glowing feedback? We certainly have. So don’t sweat a few, less-than-stellar reviews; we can help you turn them into positives.

But How?

When you get a negative review, it’s disappointing, yes; maybe even frustrating. After all, customers and potential customers who are investigating your company online may be less likely to use your services because of it. However, there are steps you can take to reverse any “bad feelings” the review might have generated.

First, Address the Problem.

Is the review about your customer service? Your staff’s skills or professionalism during a project? How about pricing? Negative reviews are a great way to be notified of potential problems within your company. This is especially true for issues you may not know about (how well your crews did or did not clean up a job site; how they resolved issues with homeowners, etc.) or any other aspect of your business. Especially if you notice that the same issue(s) are coming up on a regular basis in negative reviews, you gain a clear picture of what areas of improvement you need to focus on to better your business.

Next, Address the Person.

Who left the review and where? Responding directly to a negative review whenever possible is a great way to make the person feel heard—not to mention a great way to improve the perception of your customer service. When crafting your response, it’s important to actually read the comment closely and address those details specifically. We’ve all seen those companies that leave the same canned response on every single negative comment they receive; they’re not effective and do nothing to remedy the situation.

If possible, make suggestions to the person about what can be done to alleviate his or her concern(s). If you can’t remedy the situation, offer a sincere apology. It may be hard to do if you run across a particularly nasty review, but it’s essential that you keep your language, tone and intent professional and courteous. You don’t ever want to post a rude, aggressive or otherwise provocative comment for the world to see. You might feel good about it in the moment, but it will severely affect the “big picture” perception of your company and brand. Giving personal, specific attention to unhappy customers and genuinely trying to fix problems will make your company appear more helpful, caring and trustworthy in the long run, which are extremely important to customers looking for a high-quality company.

Finally, Address Your Team. 

Remember those areas of concern we talked about earlier? Talk about them with your team. If your staff needs work in one area or another, the only way to fix the issue(s) is to let them know. Have a meeting to discuss any problems and brainstorm solutions for a better, more successful business—and don’t let the “negatives” bring you down!