Responding to Negative Reviews

Author: Jack Martin

Every company dreads the negative review and almost every company will encounter them at some point in their lifespan. Handling these reviews can be tough, especially if you feel like the criticism is unwarranted. The last thing you want to do, though, is lash out or be defensive and, in turn, not responding to the review can be equally as harmful. Here are a few tips to help handle a bad review:

Respond Quickly

Sometimes the only thing a customer wants is to feel heard. By reaching out and connecting with the writer of a negative review right away, it shows that you and your business truly care about their experience. Often times this will lead to the negative review being edited or amended by the author and usually reverses any negative backlash the review may have caused in the process.

Be Polite

Again, lashing out only causes bigger problems. Keep your public relations hat on when engaging with negative comments/reviews. If you would not say it to a customer in person, you should not be saying it to them online.

Take the Conversation Offline if Possible

The internet is not the place to argue over reviews or handle criticism from your customers. When situations get heated or when dealing with a sensitive issue, it is better to reach out to the person externally either through a phone call or a private message. Going the extra mile to attend to a customer’s needs makes them feel like a priority.

Be Transparent

If you made a mistake, own up to it. Trying to hide something that went wrong will probably cause more harm than good. Instead, be honest about what went wrong and explain how you went about fixing the problem. Consumers are much more likely to be forgiving of a company mistake if they trust what your company stands for.

The Best Case Scenario

If you do everything right, follow up offline, accept ownership for something if it really was your fault, and do what you can to resolve the situation, the consumer will generally remove their review. At the very least, you got in front of them, showed genuine concern for the feedback, and hopefully renewed their interest in your company and your offering.

Negative reviews can be detrimental to your business but they don’t have to be. Remember to always respond quickly and politely, take things offline, and apologize when appropriate. Put the time in to do these three things and you will be surprised how it affects your reputation.