thumbs-downNegative reviews can be scary for any company and cause business owners to feel personally attacked and defensive. These feelings were on display last week when Samy and Amy Bouzaglo, owners of Amy’s Baking Company Boutique & Bistro in Scottsdale, Arizona, were dropped from a popular restaurant show and subsequently received a barrage of negative comments on their social media pages.

The media widely reported the couple responding negatively to their customers on social media, many of their comments spiraling out of control. This situation is an example of how not to respond to negative online reviews.

Micah Solomon, customer service expert, consultant, speaker and author of High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service, offers a few helpful tips on better ways to respond to unhappy customers.

Take a breath

While it is important to respond quickly to online reviews (“A 24-hour response time on the internet is way too long,” says Solomon), make sure you are calm when communicating. Depending on the severity of the negative review, achieving a state of calm can take time. Solomon recommends business owners take a short break to clear their heads before logging back into their computers.

Own up to it

“As soon as you are calm, sit down and craft a response that thanks the writer for his/her comment and apologizes for their bad service or product,” Solomon says. “Then, write that you will contact them privately to resolve the matter in a timely fashion. From there, send them a private message.”

But what if the reviewer continues to write negative reviews for the whole world to see, even after you’ve tried to be professional?

In this case, Solomon recommends continuing to respond in a kind and sympathetic tone. Know that they will eventually stop and that other customers will soon question the credibility of the original commenter.

Keep in touch

Former company naysayers can turn into loyal customers after experiencing superior customer service. Don’t stop the conversation once you’ve resolved an issue. Instead, keep in touch with that person and go the extra mile to deliver the best customer experience. Chances are good that they will write a positive review on your social media channels in no time.