Digitally She Does It Podcast

EPISODE 65: How to deal with negative reviews online

October 18, 2023 Karen Davies Season 1 Episode 65
Digitally She Does It Podcast
EPISODE 65: How to deal with negative reviews online
Show Notes Transcript

In this week’s episode of the Digitally She Does It show, I dive into the topic of how to deal with negative reviews online. 

I explore the impact of negative reviews, why they matter, and most importantly, how to respond to them in a balanced and unemotional way. I also share simple strategies for effectively managing negative reviews and how you can turn them into opportunities for growth & improvement.

So if you're a creative entrepreneur looking to build a successful business on your own terms, this episode is for you! 

Stay tuned and don't forget to subscribe for more inspiring content that drops every Wednesday!

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Karen Davies [00:00:00]:

Hello, and welcome to the Digitally. She does it show. This is episode 65. And in today's episode, I'm going to be talking about how to deal with negative reviews online. So let's jump right in, and let's get started.

Welcome to the Digitally. She does it show. I'm your host, Karen, and I'm here to lift the lid on what it actually takes to create a successful business.

Karen Davies [00:00:30]:

If you are an ambitious creative ready to build a business on your own terms and without compromise, and this podcast is perfect for you. With my award winning approach to marketing and expert knowledge in creating online courses, this show will leave you feeling inspired, energized, and ready to bring those big dreams to life. Join me each week for a dose of motivation and marketing know how along with the actionable step by step strategies to help you accelerate your businesses' growth. So let's dive in, and don't forget to subscribe to all my upcoming episodes which drop every Wednesday. Hello, and welcome. Thank you for joining me today. I am your host, Karen, and I really appreciate you hitting the play button to listen to today's so. Now in today's episode, I'm going to be talking about negative reviews and how to deal with them online because the more you show up online, the more likelihood it's going to be that you will experience a negative review at some point or you may experience something negative happening online.

Karen Davies [00:01:40]:

So in today's episode, I'm going to be talking about the impact of negative reviews, why they matter, and most importantly, how to respond to them in a balanced an unemotional way so that it's not going to make you spin out of control if you do receive 1. Now I think the reality is that negative reviews are, of course, a reality in the digital age we live in. Whether you run a small business, you provide a service, or you have a personal brand online. Negative reviews can be really damaging. They can tarnish your reputation. They can have an impact on potential customers looking to work with you. And, of course, this can then impact your revenue. But I do think that by taking the right approach, then negative reviews can be effectively managed and they can actually be an opportunity for growth and improvement, so it isn't all bad.

Karen Davies [00:02:48]:

Now before I dive into strategies for handling these negative reviews, I just wanna talk about their significance. Now I recently came across a survey by Bryte Local that stated that 92% of consumers read online reviews. An interestingly 40% of these consumers only take into account reviews that have been written in the past 2 weeks. Now I think these numbers demonstrate how influential online reviews are and how potential customers or clients may make their decisions. So if they happen to read a negative review and they've met you, they wanna work with you, but, of course, they've come across this thing online then naturally it could have a negative impact. And so what we wanna be doing is we wanna be almost turning it around so that if you do receive a negative review. It's not all bad. It doesn't mean that you're never going to be able to work with another customer or client because there are things that you can do to turn it around and actually create a positive out of something that, on the face of it, feels really quite scary and very harmful.

Karen Davies [00:04:20]:

So I am working with a client at the moment who recently received a negative review online. The client that I'm working with. They're a national brand, and they employ a lot of staff. And one of their staff members was called out online because of their behavior and attitude that the person write in the review found to be unacceptable. Now, the review was left online and it was brutal and it really ripped into this member of staff and they even mentioned that the person's name. Now what I found interesting was that this company is a big company, but they were unsure on how to actually handle the negative review that they received, which kinda got me thinking because I think that if larger businesses struggle with this, then we, as small businesses, are gonna find this really difficult because, of course, there's a direct impact to what we're trying to build. I think dealing with negative reviews online is really challenging, but I think it is really important to address them in a constructive and professional way. And in my opinion, the worst thing that you can do to handle this is to not acknowledge it and to brush it off thinking that it doesn't matter because that one review could have a negative impact on your business.

Karen Davies [00:05:54]:

And I do think that one review. It it's just not worth taking the risk. So what can you do when you receive a negative review? What is the things that you can put in place to ensure that you're actually turning something quite negative into something positive. Now I think the first step ultimately is to just take a deep breath and to avoid any instant knee jerk reactions. It would be so easy to spiral out of control because somebody's left something negative online. It is, of course, natural to feel defensive or upset if you do receive 1, but I think it's also important to know that it's not the end of the world. And as I said previously, this is something that can actually be turned into an opportunity. It all boils down to how you look at it.

Karen Davies [00:06:48]:

I think it's crucial to remain calm and also to respond immediately. Do not respond impulsively. That is the worst thing you can do because if you respond in an emotional way that is defensive, it's just going to inflame the situation all the more. So you need to take some time to process your emotions before taking any kind of action. I think it's also important to take the time to really carefully read what that person has left and to really understand the review, and to and to to kind of approach it in an objective way, which I know is really difficult because it's very easy to take it personally. But I think when people leave things online, I don't always think they're being personal. I think sometimes it is because they've had a bad experience or they've had an experience that they they they weren't happy with and so that's why they want to respond to let the company know of the experience that they've received. So I don't think it's personal, but you have to avoid taking it as being a personal, hit because I think when when that happens then you are most likely going to respond impulsively.

Karen Davies [00:08:13]:

And like I say, you do not want to inflame the situation. I think if somebody has taken the time to write a complaint, then it must mean something for them to do it because people are busy and I think finding the time to sit down and write something means that they must be serious about the thing that they're writing. Now I know there are going to be time wasters out there and I know there are people that love to complain which is why when you read the review, you have to try and be objective about it and really ask yourself if there's any weight to what it is that they're talking about. Maybe they have received, a poor experience from you and maybe it be might be because life was happening and you weren't fully there. Maybe your head was somewhere else and and so the the service you provided wasn't to the usual standard, and that's absolutely fine. But I think we need to approach it in a objective way so that we can sort of see whether what they've said has, merit. So I think if somebody has left you a review, a negative review, then show them respect by responding. And I think the key here is to show baroncy, empathy, and that you're going to take swift action.

Karen Davies [00:09:40]:

I think also the best course of action to take is also by thanking that person for for leaving that review, leaving that feedback, and to let them know, first and foremost, that actually what their opinion is, of course, matters to you. Because you're a business owner, you're there providing a service. And you may think that you are delivering a service of certain standard, but, of course, it might not translate to that from a customer's perspective. So it it doesn't necessarily mean they're wrong, but I think that first and foremost, you want to just diffuse situation by acknowledging what they're saying so that they know that you're you're showing commitment to addressing their concerns. And I think in this, particular instance, you stay away from any canned responses and you always opt in for a personalized message because that's what's gonna show genuine concern. Now sometimes when people are called out on something, it can result in them getting defensive or engaging in an argument, but this is not the right approach to take because it's only ever going to escalate the situation and potentially damage your reputation further and you want to avoid that at all costs. So I think always respond with a genuine apology. Show that you have an understanding of what it is that they're saying and you are willing to make things right.

Karen Davies [00:11:14]:

And I think that will go a long way to building good faith. Try also to take the conversation offline by giving them your contact details and invite them to discuss their concerns in more detail because this is going to demonstrate how committed you are to resolving the issues that they've highlighted and also that you're prepared to do it in a more personalized way. I think when companies get really big, they lose that customer service an everything seems to be automated. And as a customer, that can be frustrating because, actually, what you wanna do is you want to speak to a person that you can share your concerns with and that's going to give you empathy on how you're feeling. And I think when you get that, you immediately feel better. So try and put yourself in your client's shoes and try and understand how they're feeling and how they've arrived at the decision, that they've made to write write the write the review. And I think by doing that, you will just immediately be able to show them the empathy that they're probably looking for. So how you respond to negative reviews, I think, sort of shows how you are as a a a person, an individual, but also as a business owner as well and and, of course, how you see your business.

Karen Davies [00:12:51]:

And don't forget, you're managing your brand here. Your brand is what is important. Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room. And so it's really important that you take that seriously and that you your response to negative reviews. It it's not just about the person that's made the negative review, but it's also for potential customers who who are going to be reading your interaction with that customer later on because this is about what your brand's going to be about. So if you're confrontational and you're argumentative and you're not accountable and you leave a message to the review that isn't very friendly and it's quite aggressive, then that's going to show your brand in a really negative light. And the chances are clients are not going to want to work with with you. So I think you it needs to be taken seriously how you then respond.

Karen Davies [00:13:56]:

So always keep in mind that it's not just about the person that you're responding to, but it's about future clients as well and and how people talk about your business when they're not interacting with you as well. You don't want to potentially damage your reputation any further. And instead, you always want to respond with genuine apologies so that that person leaving the review knows that you're serious about making things right. I think by handling a negative review in a really professional and, empathic way. You can actually turn it into a positive opportunity because, again, you're showcasing your commitment to providing a really top class customer service and keeping your clients happy and that clients actually matter to you and your business. Now another important thing to consider when dealing with negative reviews online is your reputation because as I said, this is your brand. So make it a habit to regularly check review sites. Go on social media platforms and see what people are saying about your business and use other online platforms as well if that's where you show up so that you can really see, engage how people are talking about your business.

Karen Davies [00:15:22]:

And I think that what you need to do is always respond as quickly as possible not just to negative reviews but to positive reviews as well because this is going to maintain an active and engaged online presence which is really important. Now I know it can be tempting to shy away from doing this, but the other thing that I think is really important is that you drown out any negative reviews by getting positive reviews. So when I say about shying away from this, what I mean is actively asking clients to give you positive reviews. You need to be every time you work with somebody, ask them for a testimonial. Get them to leave it on Google My Business so that you can build up that bank of really positive reviews. Because if somebody then goes and leaves you a negative review at and you've got lots of positive reviews and it drowns out that one negative, and that's really important as well. What you don't wanna do is have a Google My Business account, have 1 person leave a negative review, and then not have any positive reviews because that's going to make your business look really bad. So you wanna avoid that at all costs.

Karen Davies [00:16:41]:

You want to get good reviews on there. So whatever you do when you work with clients, just in your workflow, when you're offboarding your clients, ask them to provide you with a positive review. And you can even give them a script. You can give them the words, if you like, that you want them to use. You can give them a little, framework, and clients are gonna like that because you're saving them time. So if they've genuinely had a good experience with you and your business, they're most likely going to be happy to review, to leave a positive testimonial and that's the thing that you can then use to drown out the negative reviews. I think this is a great way to counterbalance the impact of naked of any negative reviews that you then receive. It's also worth just being aware that not all negative reviews deserve the same level of attention.

Karen Davies [00:17:42]:

Some reviews may be completely baseless or they may be left for for from trolls looking to damaging reputation because let's face it, there are people out there that have too much time on their hands and they just want to cause people harm. So, obviously, you need to take a balanced view as to whether or not that review that's been left is genuine. And, of course, if it is, then you you respond straight away. You reach out to that, client, and then you take it offline and you deal with it appropriately. However, if it's baseless and it's just been left because somebody is looking to create damage, then you still need to go back to them, but maybe what you do is you have a a maybe what you do is you leave them a short message that's respectful, that just lets them know that you have not worked with them and that this is something that's untrue. Unfortunately, I had a situation that happened to me where somebody who I have never met, I have never worked with, left a negative review on my Google My Business, and what they put was completely baseless. There was no truth to it whatsoever, and they gave me a one star review. And at the time, I took it really personally, and I really struggled with it because I had actively gone out my way to build my testimonials so that my clients that I was working with were giving me those 5 star you.

Karen Davies [00:19:34]:

So I was really proud at the fact that clients were wanting to do that based on the service that I was providing. So when I got this 1 star review, I was so upset. It really did push me off balance. And then what I did is I spoke to one of my mentors, and I was talking about this, and they suggested that the way to drown it out is to go and ask all of my clients reach out to all of my clients and ask them to leave me a positive review on my Google My Business, platform, which I did. And so what that did is that it completely drowned it out, and it meant that my overall rating was really high. And even today, I still have that 1 star review, which I just have to kind of ignore, but I did report it to Google, and I found this really interesting because it was clearly somebody trolling, and Google did nothing. They were not prepared to remove it. What I found really interesting was that there was no identity behind the review.

Karen Davies [00:20:55]:

So anybody can set up a Google account. Profile picture. They don't have to put any details. And because of that, there are people that do unfortunately go around leaving negative reviews, there's no identity behind them, so you don't know who's actually doing it. Unfortunately, Google does not take responsibility for this, and they don't do anything about it. So whilst I'd love to sit here and say if you receive a negative review, reach out to Google and get them to remove it. If it is a baseless review, Google won't do that. So what you have to do is make sure that you drown it out by getting lots of positive reviews.

Karen Davies [00:21:40]:

I did have a client I was working with. And at the very beginning, before we started working together. I always remember her saying to me, I've been online and obviously checked you out and I see you had an you have a negative review. An it wasn't long after it had happened. And it did make me think that just because that person has left me that negative review. It could have well meant that that client I was about to work with coulda decided to go somewhere else. So I'd I think that when we if you were to get a negative review, I don't think it's the end of the world. I think there's plenty that can be done to combat it and to turn the situation around, but I also think that you need to actively you need to proactively deal with it and you need to understand that, to some people, negative reviews are are enough for them to change their mind about working with you.

Karen Davies [00:22:47]:

Now if that's the case, they may not be your client. They may not be your ideal Ryan. And in my case, I continued to work with the client. It was not a problem. I explained what happened, and after that, it it wasn't even an issue. And after that as well, I managed to get loads of, like I say, 5 star reviews and everything is fine. But it does happen, and I think that's the point. So it's best to be prepared so that if this does happen to you, you know how the land lies.

Karen Davies [00:23:18]:

Unfortunately, I think negative reviews are an inevitable part of running a business online because it's so easy for people to jump on and to, you know, leave something negative which, like I say, can be damaging. And whilst, of course, they feel challenging, they can also present an opportunity for you to grow and for you to improve as well, and that's why I don't think it's necessarily all bad. I think there is room there to be able to use it to your advantage. I also think that by approaching negative reviews with empathy, professionalism, Anna commitment to rectifying any issues raised. Again, you can actually turn them into a positive force for your business. And remember, it's not about avoiding negative reviews. So I don't want you thinking, well, I'm not gonna show up online because I don't want to get one. It's just about effectively managing them, and you can do that.

Karen Davies [00:24:24]:

As I said, negative reviews are not the end of the world. They're going to happen. It's worth just having a strategy in place so that if they do happen, you're prepared.

Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. I hope you found this episode of value, and, of course, please feel free to share it with others who you may think will also benefit from listening to today's episode.

If you are feeling inspired and would like to know more about getting started with creating an online digital course, then why not download my free ebook, 10 Steps to Digital Course Success, by visiting my website I will be back next week with another episode. But until then, have a great week.

Karen Davies [00:25:10]:

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the digitally she does it show. Don't forget to check out the show notes for all the links and resources mentioned in today's episode. New episodes drop every week on Wednesday, so why not rate and subscribe so you never miss an episode? Thank you for tuning in today, and I will see you next time.