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Don’t Let the Turkeys Get You Down: 5 tips for dealing with that bad Google review

badreviewIt happens. Someone leaves your business with a bad taste in his mouth, and before he’s even out the door, the bad review has splattered onto your profile wall.

Ouch! (and oo yuck)

You might be tempted to ignore it or think it will go away, but the truth is online reviews are getting more attention than ever. According to one survey, 80% of potential customers change their minds after reading negative reviews.

So, when the bad review hits, the question is this:

“How can I keep this review from making 4 out of 5 customers say ‘maybe next time’?”

Here are five tips that may save you from feeling like you ate some old cranberry sauce when a bad review surfaces.

Five Tips for Dealing with That Bad Google Review

1. Pay attention to your online presence.

Today more than ever it’s important for local businesses to keep tabs on what people are saying about them online. Be in the know by making sure you (or someone you’ve hired for this purpose) is checking Google+ and other important review sites to monitor your reputation in the virtual world. It could be as simple as setting up weekly Google Alerts for your business name so you can “eavesdrop” on the online conversations.  Being aware of  your online reputation is the most important step toward creating a solid, reputable presence.

2. Breathe for a bit.

A bad review hurts because it feels like a personal attack on that place you pour your heart and soul into – your local business. We get that.

So, when you find that bad review, give yourself a little time to breathe. Don’t fly off the cuff with the first response that comes to mind.  In the heat of the moment it may not come out the way you wanted it to.  Stay calm and give yourself a little space to think and prepare a response.

3. Respond professionally.

A private response to the reviewer with a heartfelt apology and a desire to make things right will often clear touchy situations right up.  Try to message the offended customer privately first, offering a make-it-right solution or a discount on a future purchase. This could be enough to land a “Yes!” to your follow-up “Could you please remove the negative review?” request.

If a private response doesn’t help, a thoughtful, public “We are so sorry about your experience and want to do our best to make things right” response may be your best option.  At the very least, future customers who might’ve been put off by a bad review will see that you take care of even the occasional unhappy customer.

4. Develop a strategy.

One practical way to downgrade a negative review is by surrounding it with positive ones.  Multiple good reviews can bury a bad review – or at least make it seem like the odd one out.

Ask contented customers if they mind leaving a quick review after interacting with your business.  Many of them would be happy to help but may not think of it automatically.  Let’s face it, most of us are quicker to tell someone when we’ve had a bad experience than when we’ve had a pleasant  one!

You can add good vibes to your online profile by asking for objective reviews from satisfied customers. You may even want to strategize a “Happy Customer Review Plan” to help keep ’em coming.

5. Nod and move on.

Remember, even though it hurts, a bad review isn’t the end of the world. Yes, you should acknowledge and deal with it, but then — move on! Get back to what you do best – supplying your local customers with the incredible products only you and your business provide.

And, if all else fails, you can always turn a bad review into a wry marketing gimmick like this café did!

worst meatball sandwich

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