As a small business owner, building a reputation for your brand online can be tough.

Starting shop and finding a hundred customers overnight is virtually impossible – you need to start off small and pay your dues in order to succeed.

One of those dues is building positive reviews.

According to Salsify, 66% of consumers stated many online reviews make them trust a brand online, whilst BrightLocal suggests that buyers require an average of 40 online reviews before believing a business’s star rating is accurate.

That’s a lot of happy customers – and a lot of hard work to get there.

With the right products and services, however, it’s possible.

So when a project doesn’t go to plan and a disgruntled customer leaves a negative review on your Facebook page, on Google, or on TripAdvisor, it can hurt.

Make a few mistakes and those one-star reviews can add up quickly, and your five-star rating will quickly drop to three.

Below, we’ve put together some of the ways you can improve your reputation after receiving a few negative reviews, and ultimately put your business back on the road to recovery…


Start by putting it right

The most obvious place to start is to put it right.

Whether you operate an online bakery or a marketing firm, the chances are that your one-star review is due to poor service.

Reach out to that disgruntled customer and ask them what you can do to change their opinion of you, whether that’s sending out a replacement box of cookies or rewriting their blog post.

We’re not saying you should grovel, but if a customer is unhappy, then doing the right thing could encourage them to change their review and even persuade them to return to your business.


Improve your reputation

If you’ve received lots of negative reviews, whether that’s because of your poor reputation or a poor manager, working with a company that specialises in online reputation management is something to consider.

Such companies can help you to repair your negative reputation online, through removing negative reviews, repairing image search suggestions, removing negative Google suggestions, creating positive public relations for your brand and more.


Ask happy customers for reviews

If you simply cannot get your disgruntled customers to budge, make an effort to contact your happy customers and ask them to leave you a review.

Make it easy for them – include a link to your Google My Business listing or Facebook page and give them some prompts, such as mentioning their account manager or server.

The majority won’t respond to your request, so send reminders every now and then to nudge them to leave a review.

Which leads us onto…


Incentivise reviews

People are busy.

And lazy.

Even if you offer the world’s best service, the chances are that the majority of your customers won’t want to review your business because it takes time out of their day.

One way to overcome this is to incentivise reviews – but only within the law.

You can’t tell a customer you’ll give them £100 off their next order if they leave a five-star review, but you can say you’ll enter them into a prize draw or offer a coupon if they leave a review of some sort.

Bowler Hat has put together a great email template to send to your customers.


Wrapping up

Nobody likes to read negative reviews about their business – especially when they’ve done nothing wrong.

Follow the tips we’ve laid out in this article and you’ll be able to overcome your one-star review, or at least patch your reputation and move forward.

And remember: you can’t make all of your customers happy all of the time.

It’s part of business, so try not to take it too personally and focus on delivering a great service to your happy clients.