If you sell a product or service online it’s inevitable…at some point, you will receive a negative review.
Whether it’s a one-star rating on Yelp or Amazon, a scathing blog post, or a hurtful comment on social media, negative reviews can be difficult to stomach and greatly affect your online reputation.
That means they will affect the status and success of your business.
Consider that 94% of consumers refuse to purchase or patronize a business if there are several negative reviews posted.
But don’t despair!
There are ways to effectively respond to negative reviews and use them to your advantage.
Here are 5 tips that any good ORM company will advise for responding to negative reviews online.
1. Don’t take it personally
It can be easy to take negative feedback personally, but try to remember that it’s not about you as an individual.
It’s about your business.
So don’t let a few bad reviews get you down – use them as an opportunity to learn and improve.
When you get a negative review, it can be tempting to lash out. But resist the urge!
Every reputation management firm will tell you that replying in a defensive or angry manner will only make you look bad and damage your business’s reputation.
Whatever you do, keep it positive. Write back to the reviewer to better connect with the reason he was driven to write something poor in the first place.
2. Be professional
When responding to a negative review, it’s important to remain professional. This means avoiding personal attacks, name-calling, and any other unprofessional behavior.
The last thing you want to do is to respond to a negative review in a way that will make things worse. So take a deep breath, count to ten, and remember that the customer is always right – even if they’re wrong.
It’s important to respond to every review, both positive and negative. But when it comes to negative reviews, your response can be the difference between a one-time customer and a lifelong advocate.
In fact, thank them for their feedback.
Thanking the customer for their feedback shows that you’re listening and that you appreciate them taking the time to leave a review.
Then, in another stroke of genuineness, apologize for their bad experience.
Even if you don’t think you did anything wrong, it’s important to apologize. This shows that you understand their perspective and that you want to make things right.
Taking responsibility for any mistakes shows you’re a professional who truly cares about customer service.
If there were any mistakes made on your part, take responsibility for them. Apologize for any inconvenience or frustration that was caused.
It’s important to keep your response professional, even if the review itself is not. Avoid getting into a back-and-forth argument with the reviewer and refrain from using profanity or personal attacks.
If spending hours addressing all the reviews you receive seems like too much to handle, there are online reputation services, like Avita Group in Calabasas, CA, who can help.
3. Acknowledge the reviewer’s concerns and address the issue head-on
The first step is to simply acknowledge the reviewer’s concerns. Thank them for taking the time to leave a review and let them know that you are taking their feedback seriously.
When you receive a negative review online, it can be tempting to ignore it or to try and bury it with positive reviews. However, this is not the best course of action. Instead, you should take the time to respond to the review in a professional and constructive manner.
Don’t try to ignore or downplay the negative feedback. Instead, address the issue head-on and let the customer know that you’re taking their concerns seriously.
Thank the customer for their feedback. No matter how negative the review is, thank the customer for taking the time to provide their feedback. This shows that you’re open to constructive criticism and are always looking for ways to improve your business.
4. Offer a solution
If possible, try to offer a solution to the problem that was raised in the negative review. This shows that you’re willing to go above and beyond to resolve the issue and improve the customer’s experience.
If the reviewer has a specific complaint, try to offer a solution that will resolve the issue.
For example, if they didn’t like your product, offer to send them a replacement or refund their purchase. If they had a bad experience at your store, invite them to come back and speak with a manager.
Bottom line: if there’s something you can do to fix the problem, let the customer know.
If not, see if there’s something you can do to make up for it. For example, you could offer a discount on their next purchase or a free shipping upgrade.
In these ways, you can turn a negative review into a positive opportunity for your business.
That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid of the occasional bad review. Think of negative feedback as an opportunity for positive growth that you can use to your advantage!
5 – Take the conversation offline and ask for their help
If the customer is angry or upset, it’s best to take the conversation offline. This way, you can avoid a public argument and resolve the issue in a more private setting.
Negative reviews can also be a learning and growing experience. It’s possible that the reviewer had a valid point and that you can make changes to improve your business as a result.
It can be difficult to hear that someone didn’t have a good experience with your business, but it’s important to remember that feedback – even negative feedback – is a valuable opportunity to improve your business.
So, thank the reviewer for their feedback and let them know that you’re committed to making things right.
In addition, you can empower the reviewer by asking for his or her help in improving your business.
If you’re not sure what the reviewer’s specific complaint is, or if you can’t offer a solution that will resolve the issue, ask them for their help.
For example, you could say something like, “Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback. We’re sorry to hear that you had a negative experience and we’re committed to making things right. If you could please let us know what we could do to improve things for you in the future, we would appreciate it.”
This shows that you’re willing to listen and that you care about making things right.
If you’re able to track down the customer who left the negative review, it may be worth reaching out to them offline to see if you can resolve the issue. This could involve offering them a discount or refund, or simply apologizing for their bad experience.
Again, avoid getting defensive or making excuses. This will only make you look bad and will do nothing to diffuse the situation. Instead, try to empathize with the customer and let them know you’re doing everything you can to resolve the issue.
You might also want to consider responding publicly to the review, but be sure to do so in a professional and constructive manner. Thank the customer for their feedback and let them know that you’re working on addressing their concerns.
How to physically respond to negative reviews
Different platforms offer different variations on the review response from business owners.
For reviews on your Google My Business page, open your account, click “reviews” which will show all your reviews with a “reply” button to post a comment back to each specific review.
In Yelp, the same ability to reply to a review appears when you log in to your business’s Yelp account.
Amazon is a little tricker as at the end of 2020, the platform removed the ability for retailers to directly respond to a review. You can still use the “report abuse” button below every review if you feel the review is unfair or simply untruthful. It helps to report abuse if you believe that the bad review came from a competitor or bitter ex-employee.
The bottom line
It can be difficult to read negative reviews about your business online. But it’s important to remember that every customer is different, and what didn’t work for one might be exactly what another is looking for.
Use negative reviews as an opportunity to learn about your customers’ needs and how you can improve your business processes.
Following these tips will help you respond to negative reviews in a way that is professional and courteous. By keeping your cool and addressing the customer’s concerns, you’ll be able to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
ABOUT AVITA GROUP
Avita Group is a digital marketing firm in Calabasas, California. We specialize in organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign management, Online Reputation Management (ORM), website creation and conversion optimization.
The Avita Group team boasts a collective experience of over 25 years in the industry and has worked with a variety of multi-million dollar companies to help them improve their ROI, build better brand awareness, and mitigate negative online reviews and results.
Contact us today for a free consultation.