One of these days you will receive a negative review. (Have you already?) It will make you angry, frustrated, and sad. You’ll feel personally attacked and will want to set the record straight. But wait.
A bad response to a negative review will turn potential customers away from your business. Don’t worry about responding as quickly as possible. Take time to cool down and think about your phrasing because you will want to put together a response. Leaving a negative review unaddressed will also give rise to concerns about the quality of your services.
Fortunately, there is a way for business owners to respond to negative reviews and come out of the process looking better than they did before. Here are some simple rules for crafting a well-considered response to a negative review:
Start by Thanking the Reviewer
The customer wouldn’t be leaving negative reviews if they didn’t experience something negative related to your brand or business. Even if your team did everything right, you should extend an apology to the aggrieved customer to start off on the right foot. Emphasize that you’re grateful for receiving customer feedback because it will allow you to improve.
Keep Your Response Simple, Short, and Unscripted
Online negative reviews are, in their essence, impersonal complaints, but everyone leaving them still wants to be treated like a person. Using extremely unspecific scripts or bots is therefore not the best option. People can always tell if you’re using a canned response. That might further anger the customers and make them feel like there is no human on the other side of the line.
While it is desirable to add some details to the response, resist the impulse to write a page-long reply about your business, your many happy customers, and the values you stand for. None of that matters and it can sound as if you’re dismissing their complaint.
Provide an Explanation
When dealing with negative reviews, it’s important to remember that you are not only correcting a mistake for the previous customer to win his repeat business, you’re also advertising to curious potential customers.
You should explain what went awry in the particular instance that is the subject of the review. If possible, you should also elaborate on how you intend to prevent that particular mistake in the future.
Offer the Customer a Way to Contact you Offline
Asking open-ended questions online might lead the reviewer to respond to your response with further negative feedback about your business. It is best to move the conversation offline to prevent this from happening. You can do this by asking customers to send you an email so you can help them further.
Provide a Resolution to the Problem
Hopefully, the customer accepted the offer and got in touch with the business. At this time, you should explain how you intend to fix the problem. I like to phrase it in a way that doesn’t specify a full refund or money back because that might be seen as an opportunity for other people to try the same approach.
Don’t expect anything in return. You cannot ask them to take down their negative review. Some customers will come back and update their original review on their own to state that they are happy with the outcome.
While receiving a negative review online can be damaging, there is a way for business owners to mitigate the situation.
Responding briefly, politely, and helpfully will help your business in any online interaction with customers. It will also save your business from damage caused by negative online reviews.
If you need help managing your online marketing efforts, feel free to contact us! We’re happy to help.