While it does not frighten businesses as much as it once did, a bad product review on Yelp, Trip Advisor, or Google Reviews can definitely have an impact on a company. Many people make purchasing decisions based on these reviews, and if the bulk of the reviews are positive, a company will like get a new customer. However, a negative review can just as easily do the opposite.
So what do you do if you get a negative review about a product or service your company offers? In most cases you should respond, but not always. Keep the following in mind:
Examine the tone of the review. Some reviews are more about people expressing their anger than presenting a real problem they had with your company. Sometimes the source of the anger has little if anything to do with your company or its products. Usually others will also detect that the review is more anger than anything else and not give it much credence. In such cases, it is often best to just ignore it.
Take an objective look. Say a reviewer does have a legitimate complaint about a product or service. In these instances, you should respond, but take care in how you do it. Apologize for the problem. If the complaint indicates the reviewer possibly did not use a product correctly, use your response as an opportunity to correct them and others. Always assume that if this person used a product incorrectly, many more customers may have made the same mistake.
Admit when your company is at fault. When a negative review is justified, the best thing to do is take a two-pronged approach: publicly and politely apologize and admit the complaint is justified. Provide the reviewer with a way to contact your company or a customer service representative so they can resolve the problem directly. There are many reports of companies that took this added step and found a new review from the same person thanking them for what they did and how the problem was rectified.
The “so so” review. The goal for most companies is to get as many 5-star reviews about their product as possible. But what if most of the reviewers give your product just a 2- or 3-star review? This is a very good time to ask for input. Ask the reviewer to explain in more detail what issues they encountered with the product and how they believe the product could be improved. Offer a way for them to contact the company. Encourage these reviewers to become part of your beta-testing network. Consider these lukewarm reviews as a way to turn a so-so product into a great product.