Your first instinct on seeing a negative online review may be to immediately and vigorously defend your business. After all, you work hard to make sure everyone—from customers to employees—has a great experience. After all, 80% of customers have changed their mind about a purchase after reading negative reviews, according to a survey conducted by Cone Communications.

Unfortunately, making an overly defensive response is usually the wrong move. Potential customers may read your passion as hostility, and you could end up losing more customers than you save.

So, what is the right way to handle this situation?

First, realize that all hope is not lost. Second, make a plan for responding. Third, be consistent in your approach.

Monitor your online presence

To react to what customers are saying about you, you first need to find what they're saying and where they're saying it. The best place to start is by claiming all listings of your business on review sites like Yelp, Google+, and Urbanspoon.

In addition to being able to review and respond to reviews, you can add or correct important information, including business hours, address, phone number, menus, prices, and photos. Some sites also allow you to offer special deals to people who check in at your business or who leave a review.

You should also set up and interact with social accounts for your business. Doing so will allow you to talk to customers directly and head off problems before they start. Think about it: If your customers are going to be talking sharing the good and the bad of your business on social media with or without your presence, wouldn't you rather know about it and be involved?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Holly Cordner

Holly Cordner is a marketing manager in Salt Lake City. She writes for CityGro, which helps businesses of all sizes connect with their customers. Her first love is technology; tofu is a close second.