Negative Online Review....Now What?
It is a difficult pill to swallow when you are notified someone has left a negative online review about your business. The concern is obviously how will that review effect the feelings of the other potential and current customers. It is a daunting task to try to determine what the best course of action is to either counter the negative review or if it is worth it to try to have the review removed.
There are several steps you may take to have the review removed. First, you can contact the host, i.e. Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc. to ask them to remove the review for a variety of reasons. Is it hate speech, not a real client, false, defamatory, etc. This works on some occasions. If they will not remove the review, you will want to post a reply to either counter what was said or to show the public you care about your customers and you want them to know you hear their concerns. Do not be standoffish or rude, simply acknowledge, apologize if appropriate and move on. Don't get into a fight with them so there is no tit for tat causing even more damage. If the review is untrue or filled with facts that attack you personally, your character or your business in a way that is wholly unrelated to the service provided or the interaction, you may want to discuss options with an attorney. The attorney can tell you if there is a claim for defamation and what further steps you may be able to engage in.
The bigger take aways is to remember that people take reviews with a grain of salt unless everyone says you're awful. It is easy to hide behind an anonymous post or vagueness to try to get back at a business that you felt was underperforming. It is also a platform to allow people to take vengeance out on you for things unrelated to your business. The public is discerning enough to avoid relying on the reviews like this. The ones to be concerned about are the ones that give specific details of bad behavior, mistreatment or faulty products. Those are the reviews that require a response, an apology and an offer to make it right. The worst thing you can do is to ignore these people or become combative.
If you need assistance of a lawyer to review multiple reviews by the same person on multiple platforms, or if the information is defamatory feel free to call to make an appointment. But remember the best defense is a good offense, ask you happy customer to write reviews about their experiences and if there is a grain of truth in the negative review, fix the problem.