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Negative On-Line Reviews Can Become Good Things

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Online reviews can be great for small businesses. They help build trust with potential customers and improve your search ranking. But with the good can also come the bad: negative reviews. If it happens to you, don’t panic. With the right response, a critical comment doesn’t have to be a disaster.

“If someone does give you a bad review, you have to realize this is their opinion,” said Nick Slettengren, founder and director of Power Digital Marketing. “You don’t have the right to ask them to take it down or to go back and slam them.”

Instead, Slettengren recommends responding graciously. “If you show some humility and say, ‘How can we make this better?’ it shows the rest of the audience that your business is trying.”

In addition, you can dilute the impact of a negative review by asking happy customers to go online and review your business as well. Slettengren recommends finding your most loyal customers (look at your sales data or rewards program if you have one) and asking them to leave a review. In all likelihood, they’ll be glad to leave an honest, positive review of your business.

What do you do if someone appears to be posting nasty comments simply for the sake of being combative? “As hard as it may be, I advise clients to ignore that,” Slettengren said. “I’ve seen some people ask for money or free products to take those reviews down. You want to be sure you’re not being taken advantage of.”