The Internet is a wonderful place where people can engage and interact and find information like never before. You can take word-of-mouth advice from strangers you have never even seen about all sorts of products and services before you buy or decide on a brand.

But the Internet can seem like a truly awful place when someone has written a negative review about your business. It’s there in black and white for everyone in the world to read and consider — and it rarely goes away.

You may not think it’s fair for ONE customer having a bad experience (or sometimes even just a bad day) to ruin your chances at gaining more potential consumers, but unfortunately that’s their right. Fortunately, however, it’s YOUR right to counteract the damage they have done.

So how do you overcome a negative consumer review? And more importantly how do you get potential consumers to ignore it? I believe the key is to reassure the consumer that your establishment is a great place and that any and all wrongs will be made right. The points below will show you how to do just that.

Respond To The Negative Review

First, I would recommend you REPLY to the negative review. If that option is available on the website where the review was posted, that should be your first line of defense. Don’t try to excuse them away or act like they are not being truthful, but instead apologize, tell them that if this happened, then it is not typical of your business… (staff to act this way, food to taste this way, room to smell this way, etc.) and promise to take action.

Taking action can be offering them a free stay, free appetizer, free drink, gift card, or whatever you think is appropriate to make things right. Tell them to call and ask for you (so you can confirm they were an actual customer) and that you will be more than happy to give them this for free because you want to give them the experience they should have had on their previous visit. Even if that customer doesn’t take you up on the offer, having this offer online will show other users that even when things go wrong, you not only care but are willing to do what it takes to make it right.

Overpower The Bad Review With Good Reviews

If enough people come out of the woodwork to say that your business is the exact opposite of what the negative reviewer posted, potential customers will be more likely to give you a try.

Please note: We do NOT recommend — and actually very much discourage you from — writing your own reviews. You may think you are crafty enough, but users can sniff out a fake review a mile away. And believe me, nothing looks worse than a negative review followed by the business owner bragging about his/her establishment. Not to mention it’s completely unethical and against the rules, etc. Don’t even give it another thought.

So how do you get enough valid positive reviews to counteract the bad review? Ask! Sometimes sharing the negative review and asking for help can work wonders (see a real life example of this). I’m sure you have many customers who would love to rave about your business, especially coming to your defense to do so. Now all you have to do is point them in the right direction! Here are some more tips to jump-start your positive reviews.

Top 5 Ways To Get 5-Star Reviews:

  1. When someone thanks you in person, writes you an email or sends you a letter of appreciation, ask them if they would tell others by writing a review. Offer them a link.
  2. Do you send e-newsletters to past guests? Provide a link to add reviews from each issue!
  3. Monitor comments on your Facebook page, and reply with a link to clients that have positive things to say, encouraging them to review.
  4. Target your regulars. Thank them for their loyalty and ask if they would write a review for your business. Write the link down for them, or email it to them.
  5. Add a link to your email signature. In your everyday correspondence with hundreds of customers, you may get a good deal of people using this link to add a review.

Hope you found these tips useful, and good luck to you when managing your brand!

Reviews can be very persuasive for potential customers. Did you know we have people reviewing businesses like yours every day on our sites? See a sample » Please take advantage of this free feature if you are an advertiser on our local websites. If you need to know your specific link where your customers can add a review, don’t hesitate to call us and just ask! 518-743-9424

About Sara Mannix

Sara Mannix is the CEO of Mannix Marketing, Inc., a Digital Marketing Agency headquartered in Glens Falls, NY. She founded Mannix Marketing in 1996 with a goal to get clients "found" on the web through organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The company now serves over 1500 clients worldwide and employs a team of over 30 specialists, still operating under the tagline "We Get You Found On The Web." This multifaceted company is an industry leader, specializing in organic SEO, Link Earning, SEO-friendly Website Design, Online Advertising, Social Media and more. Mannix Marketing also has one of the largest portfolios of tourism and city guides in Upstate New York. These guides, which include Albany.com, Saratoga.com, LakeGeorge.com, GlensFallsRegion.com, CliftonPark.com and Adirondack.net, reach over 10 million visitors a year. Corresponding social media profiles for the region extend this reach to millions more on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and more.