Responding To Negative Online Reviews

Did you know that 9 out of 10 customers are likely to read reviews before choosing a business? This is why having good online reviews is essential for your business. But what about negative feedback? Obviously, no one wants to receive criticism or complaints, but the fact is that bad reviews can be good news for you and your business.

Negative reviews are an inevitable part of owning a business, even if you only have positive comments thus far. At some time, a customer will be less than pleased and will post a negative review. That does not mean the end to your business. In fact, if you only had reviews that were positive, potential customers may question the authenticity of the comments.

Negative reviews tell consumers what might go wrong with a product or service and how your company reacted to a situation. Responding immediately is smart; it allows you to address the customer’s concerns and hopefully save the relationship. Read comments carefully and reply in a way that is genuine and on-brand. Investigate the incident further, if necessary, so that you know what happened and can understand the circumstances from the customer’s point of view.

When responding, remember to apologize and thank the commenter for his or her feedback. Stay away from sounding defensive or making excuses. If the exchange becomes heated, offer to take it offline where you can better handle the disagreement. Your goal is two-fold: to save the relationship with the customer and to demonstrate to potential customers through your response that you are committed to keeping clients happy.

A smart move would be offering a reasonable accommodation for the disgruntled customer, such as a credit to your business or a replacement product. Regardless, your response should show care and concern for the customer, with an explanation of what occurred – not an excuse. Sometimes mistakes happen and no one is at fault; it is your response — not the actual incident — that could determine whether you lose or keep this customer.