Responding to Negative Reviews (With Examples)
Your online reputation matters – in fact, it matters so much that calling it your “online reputation” is fairly redundant. With over 90% of consumers checking online reviews before deciding where to go, your online reputation is your reputation, period.
When your business receives a negative customer review, it not only bruises your ego but directly affects your bottom line. While you probably already know this, you might not know that responding to negative reviews can be a powerful opportunity to showcase your company’s ethos, integrity, and offer transparency— all of which make your business look better.
Remember, when you respond to negative reviews, you’re responding to the customer as well as everyone reading your reviews. How well you do this can not only redeem the situation for that specific customer but also create a stronger, more positive brand identity to others watching.
Let’s take a look at three key things to keep in mind when responding to negative reviews:
1. Respond quickly
The case for replying within 24-48 hours is twofold: First, the situation is still fresh, and catching them in that window increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to offer an actionable solution (that they’ll take you up on). Second, it decreases the amount of time the review is sitting unattended on the web. The faster you respond, the fewer people will see the review on its own and potentially be negatively influenced by it.
2. Apologize and offer to make it right
Whether the complaint is due to a real mistake or based on circumstances beyond your control, the customer is frustrated or disappointed and you won’t get anywhere without acknowledging that first. Starting your response with a sincere apology that directly addresses their complaint will go a long way in neutralizing their pain and showing that your team cares about your customers.
Remember: This isn’t a court of law. Whether or not you think their complaint is valid, this person had a bad experience with your business and took the time to tell you and others about it. Address their experience directly and you’re already ahead. And after apologizing, offer your best solution to their problem.
3. Keep your tone friendly and sincere
No matter how unfair the criticism may feel, responding with sass or firing off a response that matches their vitriol will make the situation even worse— and looks really, really bad to anyone else reading it. Do your best to take your emotions out of it. Remember: It’s not a matter of winning a battle against the person who wrote the review, but rather showcasing that you care about your customers and want to make the situation right. For prospective customers who are deciding whether or not to work with you, it’s much more likely they’ll be attracted to a business owner that is kind, thoughtful and has a “the customer is always right” attitude rather than an angry or spiteful one.
Responding to online reviews should be a priority for every business owner. In a time when customer reviews can directly influence the amount of new business you’re getting, no one can afford to let negative feedback sit unattended. Every business makes mistakes, and sometimes customers are responding to situations beyond your control, but each review is a powerful opportunity to put your ethos and integrity on display. In short: responding to reviews is an easy way to look really good.
If you don’t have time to monitor every social media outlet and review site (who does?) a tool like Business Warrior is the easiest way to get on top of it. Business Warrior aggregates information from the most popular review sites so you can see every review from one powerful dashboard.