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How to handle negative online reviews

generation-jd-evan-koslowThe first time I received a negative online review about my law firm, I had many emotions — fear, disappointment, embarrassment and anger. It’s a tough pill to swallow.

But think about it from the client’s perspective: We’ve all experienced an unpleasant customer service. And undoubtedly, in the age of online reviews, you will likely receive one on Avvo, Twitter, Google+, Facebook or Yelp, to name a few places.

How will you know if there is a negative review about you? Well, it’s important to keep close tabs on all of your personal and professional social media profiles. Second, you can set up alerts in Google with your name so you will know the instant someone writes about you on a website that you might not be familiar with (Thumbtack, for example).

Here are three things you should do when you receive a negative online review:

1. You MUST respond, but don’t respond instantly. Take some time to craft an appropriate reply. Acknowledging the client’s concerns and feelings is of utmost importance.

2. Your response should never be defensive or attacking. Simply acknowledge their message and offer to speak with them in person or over the phone to make things right.

3. Learn from it and move on.

Unfortunately, you cannot delete a negative review once it’s out there, and even if you know deep down that they are wrong. (What if you have no idea who they are – and they mistakenly reviewed the wrong person? It happens.) Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues and former clients to give you a review. Even if potential clients see one negative review, having five positive reviews will help more in the long run.

What have your experiences been like with online reviews?

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