It happens to the best of us. As the owner of a company, you pride yourself on delivering top quality service and products. You spend time training your employees to deliver the best customer service and you listen to your customers when there is an issue. But then one day it happens, you get a negative review on your blog or a negative comment on your Facebook page. This is when you need a policy in place on how to manage negativity about your company.

Let’s begin with a few simple steps to get you started:

  1. Cool Off—The first thing you should do is take a minute to clear your head and compose yourself. Business owners pride themselves on running top notch companies. When an ugly review gets posted, the first instinct is always to respond in kind. This actually does more damage to your company because not only have you ratinglost that customer, but you shown the rest of your audience how you react in a crisis. So before you write anything, take a step back and write some of your thoughts out on paper.
  2. Research—After you have reached a place of calm, do some research to make sure that this is a legitimate complaint. Occasionally businesses have found that both competitors and disgruntled ex-employees have posted false negative reviews in order to drag the business down. If it turns out that the review is fake, either remove it or contact the site’s administrators to remove it. There’s no need to get in a tussle over a bogus complaint.
  3. Stay Positive—If the review or comment turns out to be genuine, respond to it in a positive fashion. This is your opportunity to not only repair the damage with that particular customer, but also to demonstrate to the rest of the readers that your company values making things right and customer service. Write a genuine apology and offer to take the steps needed to mitigate the issue.
  4. Use the Information—Whether this is the first time a complaint is made or if your company has faced similar issues before, your company can use the information in the complaint to make positive changes. In this way, the reviewers can almost serve as business consultants. They point out both the positive and negative of your company and give you insight on how to improve.

Keep in mind that even when a customer is wrong online, they are still right. Nothing ever really dies on the internet and how you respond demonstrates your company’s culture. Consider using the bad review and your response in a future post or article to illustrate what sets your company apart from your competitors.

Have you gotten a bad review? Tell us how you handled it in the comments.