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If you’re in business long enough, it’s going to happen. Someone is going to say something bad about you online. It may or may not be true. It will be upsetting, and it might also feel unfair. I had this happen to me, recently, when I logged into Amazon to check on my book listings, and found that someone left a 1 star review on one of my books. They left a comment, too, but the comment was just one word “dissappointing” (mispelled that way). Yet that one word was enough to make me feel badly for a while. Even though many other people got a lot of value from my book, that one negative review seemed to carry more weight than all the positive ones. (Don’t you hate that??)

how-to-deal-with-a-bad-reviewSo here’s what to do if you get a bad review:

Take a Time Out and Go Offline

When you first see a bad online review you might stop breathing for a second, and then your heart might begin to race. You’ll be hurt, angry, pissed off. Bothered. However- before you respond, take a time out. Read the review, copy it for yourself, and then go offline to think about your response. Above all, don’t respond in the heat of the moment.

Determine Whether or Not It’s Spam

Some bad online reviews are simply spam. If it’s a particularly nasty review with words that should not be online, take the review and cut and paste it into an editor. Take out all the bad words, and leave behind the substance of the review. Is there anything left that you can take action on? If so, and you have the power to edit the review, put the new review up and respond; if not, leave it and respond as if it didn’t have any of the bad words. If it’s spam, delete it without response.

Try to Make It Right

Even though you have a bad online review, it’s time to try to make it right. If you can fix the problem easily, do so. Since the customer took the complaint public, you can respond in part publicly by telling them what you’re willing to do to make it right and how sorry you are. In addition, use the opportunity to tell your readers the best way to contact your company with a complaint in order to have it dealt with before they get frustrated enough to give a bad online review. Those who are reading will judge your response more than whatever caused the bad online review to start with.

Get More Positive Reviews

If all your clients haven’t reviewed you, send them an email asking for them to give you a review. The positive reviews can dilute even the worst online review. It really should be a habit to always send emails requesting that your customer give you online reviews right at the point where they’re most satisfied with your service.

By being proactive to fix the problem in the most professional way possible, you’ll defuse the problem. Never respond back emotionally; just seek to fix the problem. Make the offer, and let it go. Move on. If it’s truly spam and you have a way to delete the review, then do that. If it’s a true criticism that you can work with, then do that. Address the problem directly, professionally, and quickly. And that’s what you do when you get a bad review.