7 Tips on How to Respond to Negative Reviews

Have you searched for your business online? Do you see reviews from unhappy customers? Follow these 7 tips to better manage negative online reviews.

Getting a bad online review is inevitable. You can’t please everyone all the time no matter how good your customer service is. Chances are good you’ve already received one. Getting a bad online review is a serious matter, but it doesn’t have to end your business if you know what to do when you get one.

Negative Feedback From Customers

Important: You need to know how to respond to negative reviews.

Knowing what to do means taking the right steps at the right time to defuse the situation. Doing so can help you resolve a customer’s issue and lessen the impact of an unflattering online customer review. In fact, taking the right steps might just get the customer to revise the review or remove it altogether.

Turning A Bad Review Around

Research shows that 88 percent of consumers are influenced by an online customer review when deciding to buy. So, one bad online review can impact your business more than you realize. Below are seven proven tips on how to disarm a bad online review and soften its impact on business:

1. Find out what’s happening

Customers leave bad reviews because they want to express their dissatisfaction and disappointment. They’re not trying to defame you. But you need to take bad reviews seriously. If you get more than one, start looking for the commonalities. Once you’ve identified the problem, figure out what’s happening. Then take concrete steps to correct the issue so that it won’t happen again.

2. Respond promptly and professionally

Responding promptly and professionally shows you care and that you value the reviewer’s opinion. That alone can win you a lot of points with consumers. Just make sure you personalize the response.

Also, don’t send a “canned” response to an upset customer. It makes your brand seem impersonal and negates all the good you did by responding quickly in the first place. Also, be polite and professional when responding.

3. Apologize and empathize

Customers are sometimes wrong. But telling one that he or she is wrong about an issue could cost you their business. Instead, respond with an apology and with empathy. Do it in the same forum that published the review initially.

It shows consumers that might have read the review that you’re acknowledging the issue and working to resolve it. You can take the next step by phone or email.  The key is finding out what the customer wants and how to provide value.

4. Make the situation right

You get valuable information when customers complain or write bad reviews about you. That information can help you boost customer service and strengthen your brand. But you need to make the current situation right.

Offering a coupon, voucher, or replacement product is a step in the right direction. Just don’t make this your default response every time you get a bad review. Otherwise, the tactic could backfire. Also, if the customer accepts the offering, encourage him or her to revise the review.

5. Take the issue offline

Most times you can resolve an issue on the forum the negative review appeared. But sometimes the issue is too complicated to do that. If that’s the case, suggest addressing the issue offline. You can call the customer or use your private email.

Some review sites welcome this approach. Yelp, for example, gives business page owners an opportunity to contact the reviewer via email. Once you’ve resolved the issue, leave comments in the public forum. That way customers know you’ve resolved the issue.

6. Share bad reviews with staff

Reviews can motivate employees, but only if you share them with them. If you keep them to yourself, you’re sending the wrong message to your customers. Instead, use them to correct existing problems and highlight how to address the issue next time it happens.

Sharing also tells your employees that your serious about building a customer-centric mindset among all employees.

7. Correct the problem

If you see significant patterns in customer feedback, take steps to correct the problem. Failing to do so leaves a bad taste in customers’ mouths. It tells them you don’t care about them.

You have a chance to show people you’re a company that cares. You might not get a second chance to do that.

Everyone gets a bad online review sooner or later—no matter how good your customer service. The key to handling a bad review is not to get angry, take it personally, or tell customers they’re wrong. Those attitudes can cost you business.

Instead, respond promptly and professionally. Find out what will make the customer happy. Then do everything you can to resolve the issue and add value.  Do that correctly and you might get the customer to either modify the review or delete it altogether, strengthening your brand.

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