How to Respond to Negative Reviews Online

How to Respond to Negative Reviews Online

How to Respond to Negative Reviews Online

No one likes to get a negative review online, especially small businesses. They rely so much on word of mouth traffic that a single bad review could do much harm to your business. It’s especially difficult when you weren’t even aware there was an issue; then suddenly there’s a 1-star review on a popular review site bashing your business.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic just yet. There are a few things you should do to respond to this negative review that will help to not only address that specific complaint but make your business stronger in the long run.

Respond and Apologize

First, no matter the situation, you should find a way to apologize to the customer. You may think you did nothing wrong, or that circumstances were beyond your control, but it doesn’t matter. Offer the apology anyway.

Most review sites allow businesses to respond to the review directly on the same page. Use this space to offer your apology and tell your side of the story. Perhaps you had a bad employee who was fired because of the incident, or your scheduling system was down, so you lost track of appointments.

Remember that other potential customers will see not only the negative review but how you respond to it. Remain professional throughout and don’t get into arguments with the customer in public. Keep your message short and sweet. Just explain the situation and offer a sincere apology. Also, try to work in examples of contrasting customer experiences so that others are aware of your positive feedback elsewhere.

Customer service team speaking to clients on the phoneOffline

Take the Conversation Offline

Another good thing you can do is reach out to the customer away from the public eye. You can use this opportunity to express your apologies again and to try and explain the situation. If you do end up getting into an argument with a customer, it’s much better if it happens behind the scenes, but you should avoid this if you can.

Another good thing you can do is reach out to the customer away from the public eye. You can use this opportunity to express your apologies again and to try and explain the situation. If you do end up getting into an argument with a customer, it’s much better if it happens behind the scenes, but you should avoid this if you can.

During your conversation, find a way to make amends. For example, you could offer a free or discounted service in the future or offer to replace their defective product for free. When most customers leave a negative review, they are looking for some acknowledgment from the company and for the company to make it right.

By finding a way to make things better, the customer will often amend their review. Future customers will see that even though you received a bad review, you responded to it professionally and found a way to make up for it. This will generally outweigh the negative feedback and won’t prevent them from becoming a customer.

Getting a negative review hurts, but sometimes simply calling the customer or sending them a private message with apologies and compensation can make it go away.

 

Example Negative Review Response

 “Dear Mr. Johnson,

My sincerest apologies regarding your recent bad experience. We had an issue with our supplier, and as a result, all our orders became backed-up. We have switched to another supplier, and we’re confident this won’t happen again. To make it up to you, we’d be happy to provide you with a discount on your next purchase. Our business prides itself on our customer services, as evidenced by our strong reviews elsewhere. If you have any other issues or questions, please reach out to us at 555-555-5555 or send us an email.”

A simple message like this will show your remorse, provide details on how you fixed it, offer to make it up to the customer, and point out your other strong customer reviews. This will likely make the original customer happier and present a strong public image to any future customers who come across this review.

 

Study the Problem

Once you’ve addressed the problem with the client or customer, now you want to work to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The best way to do this is by studying the problem. Take what the customer complained about and find out what happened. Was there an issue with one of your staff members? Did they receive delays because of inefficiencies within your business? Was there a problem with your website?

If you don’t have the time to investigate each complaint thoroughly, then you should at least study the most common responses. For example, if a large percentage of your negative complaints are about a faulty product, then you’ll want to figure out what’s going on with that product immediately. Studying the complaint and figuring out where the issue lies is the first step towards reducing the number of complaints you receive going forward.


Implement Solutions

After you have a good understanding as to what led to the customer complaint, you can start implementing solutions. For example, if the customer complained that your website was too slow so they couldn’t complete their purchase, you could upgrade to a better web server. Take the time to explore different solutions to your problem, then implement the one that seems best.

Once you’ve done this, you may want to reach out to customers or make an announcement. Let everyone know that you became aware of the problem and took steps to address it. Past and future customers alike want to see a business that addresses its faults and communicates well with its audience. You may have many people experiencing the same problem, but only a select few leaving negative reviews. By publicly addressing and fixing the problem, you’re letting anyone who might have been impacted know the issue is resolved.


Don’t Let Negative Reviews Drag You Down

Getting a negative review isn’t fun, but it also doesn’t have to be the end of your business. With some strong customer service strategies, such as apologizing and addressing the problem, you can turn bad customer experience into a positive event. So, the next time you receive a negative review online, look at it as an opportunity for improvement, and to showcase to the world your exceptional customer service skills.

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