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25 October 2016

Online Reputation Management: Handling Negative Reviews

Reputation is everything for a business. A good reputation means individuals like your business and will continually use your business and possibly recommend to their friends. A good reputation could also mean potential new customers if they see good reviews.

A bad reputation on the other hand can be damaging for a brand. A bad review can steer potential customers away and means the loss current customers.

So, when you receive bad reviews or attack sites, how can you deal with them? In this week’s blog we talk through what can be done in response to negative feedback.


Negative Reviews

Thanks to the internet, bad reviews are easier to come by. Every business will have at least one floating around the internet as websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor or Trustpilot make it very easy for customers to leave feedback.

While it is upsetting to see bad reviews, there is action to be taken. First things first, you need to find out what customers are saying about you. This is easy, all you need to do is type in a search engine “[your business name] reviews”.

Once you have found the reviews, now is time to react. Now, the easy route would be to ignore and have them removed. Most review sites have flagging systems in place which make it simpler to have reviews to be removed, however this is not the best route as you are not addressing the problem. The best thing to do is to try and understand why your customer feels the way they do and respond. Make things right so that they go away with a resolved problem and a better image of you.

When responding, make sure you listen to the customer and let them tell the full story. Empathise with the customer and let them know you understand and apologise for causing the inconvenience. Never get defensive or go against the customer. Remember the old saying, “the customers always right”.

Next you need to resolve the issue, this could be a cash incentive, or monetary return, or you could just ask the customer what they want in return. Once this has been resolved, it is best to then diagnose the issue in-house, see why it happened and ensure this doesn’t happen again.


Social Media Complaints

Social media is probably one of the go-to places for customers to vent their frustrations about a company they’ve had a bad experience with. That is why many companies now have dedicated teams that can deal with social media problems quickly.

As a small business, you may not have this luxury, but it is important to keep an on your social media and respond as quickly as you can. There are many tools that can help you monitor mentions, such as TweetDeck or HootSuite, or you can keep your twitter mentions open in the background to make sure you get notified about people tweeting about you.


Hate Websites / Social Media Accounts

You may not believe this, but many brands, especially the bigger ones, can have websites or social media accounts dedicated to hating them. If you go through Facebook or Twitter, you will likely find a page like this.

It can be disheartening to find these websites, especially as it can rank your business name in search results, however there are ways to handle sites or social media accounts like this.

First, if the site hasn’t got a lot of likes, views or website traffic, you could just ignore it. The less likes or views means not many people agree with it, know of it or even visit it, which means it won’t rank high. If this is the case, just leave it for now. Keep an eye on it of course because as soon as it gains traction, that’s when you need to step up.

If the site does rack up a lot of traffic, best thing to do is try and resolve the issue and contact the owner of the website. Much like a negative review or complaint, the person who is running it has had a bad experience so you need to do your best and see what you can do to help the customer.

Lastly, if those do not work, you could also take legal action as a last resort. If the website makes use of copyrighted material or if there is anything that is defamation, libel and slander. Tread lightly as you will need to make sure everything is right; plus, legal procedures could cause more negative attention which could be worse.

Can your Online Reputation be salvaged after Negative feedback?

Of course! While negative reviews are discouraging, the main thing to do is look at the positives and you can see the bad reviews as a way of improving business practice. It is all a learning curve to being the best business for your customers and getting more positive reviews. The more positive reviews you can get, the less the negative reviews impact on your business.


So, step up and make sure you take ownership of your business’ online reputation. Set up Google Alerts so you know when someone is talking about you, keep your social media open so you are always ready, and have a plan in place for when you do receive a negative review.


Why not check out our previous blogs on how to help boost your brand.

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