Responding to Negative Reviews Online

Even if your company is the best company in the world, there will always be someone out there who feels the need to write a negative review about your business. Although it may sting a little, it is not the end of the world. With these tips, learn how to respond to negative reviews like a pro and keep your business’s reputation as clean as possible.

1. Respond Quickly

When it comes to reviews, try to reply within a week or less. If you do not reply in a timely fashion, other readers could think the review is true. Readers could also think that you do not care about your customers. The reviewer could be someone who is seeking assistance and may be willing to remove the negative post if the problem is resolved. The faster you see and reply to negative reviews, the better.

2. Apologize

Whether the customer’s bad experience was actually true, or it was something untrue or out of your control, it is important to apologize. Use their name and state that you are sorry they had a bad experience. Also, let other readers know that their input is valuable and how you plan on addressing it. For example, you can say this: “Chris, thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. We care about our customers very much and we are so sorry that your experience was anything less than perfect. Here is our contact information so we can discuss the issue in more detail and reach a solution!”

3. Be polite

Even if the review comes off as rude and untrue, it is very important to always be polite in your response. Think of your future customers. Potential customers usually look at online reviews before they use a business or product. If a business not only has negative reviews, but responds to them in a rude manner, that is a major red flag. It shows that the business does not care about its customers. Before responding, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to understand why they are frustrated. Offer a solution to the problem and be diplomatic in your response. Getting defensive in your response will not help; in fact, it will probably make things worse. Customers are the center of your business so learn how to respond to reviews appropriately.

4. Move the conversation offline

The only conversation that should be seen online is the initial negative review and your concise response offering to fix the problem. There should absolutely be no public back and forth about resolving a customer issue. Close out your reply by inviting the negative reviewer to contact you so you can make things right. For example you can say this: “We would love the chance to talk to you more about your experience. Please contact us at XXX-XXX-XXXX and we will try our best to make things right.”

5. Encourage happy customers to write positive reviews

If someone does give you a negative review, you want to make sure your business has enough positive reviews to balance it out. Ask happy customers to leave positive reviews, and it doesn’t hurt to offer them a small reward ($5 off next service, gift card, etc.) if they do. Learn more about how to gain and maintain positive reviews online.

Things to Avoid When Replying to a Negative Review:

1. Defensive Language

It is easy to get sucked into the trap of replying with “your side of the story”, but being defensive just invites an argument that will hurt your business. Be professional and always be the bigger person in the situation.

2. Providing too many details about the situation

Providing too many details in your reply is never a good thing. If you need to explain something to the angry customer, do so very politely offline in a way that makes the customer feel better about the situation. The best reply is always short, direct and helpful.

3. Inviting a rebuttal

Avoid saying anything that invites any type of rebuttal. The last thing you need is a public, online argument. Do not get heated and wait to reply until you know exactly how to respond to the review.

Knowing how to respond to negative reviews is very important for any business, and if you know these tips and tricks you can respond in the best possible way to any negative review.

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