Managing a bad review online is never going to be fun and it usually is not going to be satisfying, either. The immediate reaction to online negative reviews or bad publicity is to lash out or deny. But as we’ve seen with celebrities and bad press, it’s best not to add fuel to the fire. Sometimes you may be tempted to delete the review and act like it never happened. However, that’s not the best approach either. You need to address the problem, but do so with a cool and level head.

But before we go into what exactly you should do with negative reviews, I’d like to go over some quick tips on how to prevent them in the first place. First, don’t try to “buy” reviews from customers or post anything that feels false. Everything about your business should be genuine and prospects will recognize that and trust you. Next, ensure your audience has a medium in which to provide reviews or engage in conversation with your brand. If they don’t have a clear way to express their opinion, they may take matters into their own hands and post things that can be spread without your knowledge. Finally, monitor these platforms and social media outlets to avoid being surprised. A lot of companies don’t take the time to check what people are saying about them and then feel blindsided when they find bad press. Set up alerts for your business or product and check in to see what people are saying about you. It will allow you to put out fires before they become unmanageable.

Using some of these proactive techniques will allow you to manage the situation before things get out of hand. However, you should keep in mind that there is no cure-all solution to negative reviews. Every negative review is unique and should be handled on a situational basis. That being said, the key to a bad review is your response. Ever heard the phrase, “Kill them with kindness?” The best way to counteract negative reviews is by getting positive press that will drown them out. Go the extra mile, and do things that will make people want to talk about your business in a positive way. Do everything you can to rectify the situation within the confines of your policies. If reviewers are being unreasonable, people will see that.