8 Steps for Responding to Negative Reviews

Blog - responding to negative reviews

Negative reviews are a problem for companies in all industries. Such comments can damage your company’s brand, especially those that are inaccurate, biased, or from a competitor. Negative reviews can also be an opportunity to improve the business and customer experience, which is why companies devote time and resources to responding to them. According to the Conversation Index by Bazaarvoice, seven out of ten customers changed their opinion about a brand after the company replied to a review. The feedback provided can be beneficial in several ways: it’s useful for improving the business, it’s motivating, and it can be used as a learning experience.

Here are 8 steps your team can follow if/when your company receives a negative review online. 

 

1. Respond to negative reviews quickly and professionally

It is important to respond to negative reviews in a timely manner in order to clear up any potential inaccuracies or misconceptions as soon as possible.  When responding to negative business reviews, be diplomatic and professional in tone. This will help build your organization’s brand image and give potential clients a positive impression of your company. 

 

2. Acknowledge the customer’s negative feedback 

We encourage you to listen to your customer’s concerns. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention and give them an appropriate apology. Your customers will feel much better if you acknowledge the situation and take responsibility for their less than satisfactory experience. 

 

3. Make it right

Whatever the issue is, it’s important to make things right. If the company has a genuine customer service issue that has resulted in a complaint, then make sure you respond appropriately and promptly.

If the comment relates to the quality of your product or service, then reach out directly to them and explain the measures the organization is taking to fix the problem and make it better. Often, multiple teams within the organization will be involved in the resolution, especially if the issue gets escalated. 

 

4. Apply the negative feedback to make company improvements

Once a customer has expressed their dissatisfaction with your business, you must take action to help turn the situation around. Provide an explanation, if necessary.

If the customer’s complaint looks to be a misunderstanding, it’s important that the communication back to the customer does not appear defensive. Instead, take a moment to explain the situation and clarify your reasoning. Make improvements by updating your business’ policies or offering a solution if necessary.

 

5. Eliminate potential errors to improve customer experience

It may be the case that there is an error greater than just one bad review that is causing issues with your business’ feedback. If that’s the case, be sure to take the necessary steps to mitigate the errors that are being made in your business. This will improve the overall customer experience and, of course, your reviews. 

​​If staff need to be retrained on handling specific issues, consider doing so to avoid the error from reoccurring. You may also want to consider whether there is a need for the organization to revise your product or service offering based on the negative reviews. This could be the case if the shortcomings that are being pointed out are legitimate, and they can’t be resolved quickly enough by retraining staff or making minor adjustments in how the business operates.

 

6. Reply positively to  customers who have posted negative feedback about your organization

Remember that we all make mistakes from time to time and there may be good reasons why a customer is giving your company a bad review. In responding to their comments,  don’t get into an argument or try to change their mind. Instead, focus on what you can do to improve the customer experience and work to rectify the problem they are experiencing.

 

7. Contact the customer offline

In most cases, if a customer has posted a negative review, they are also willing to talk to you about it. Take the discussion offline by contacting them directly through email. Acknowledge the problem at hand and apologize for their negative experience. Let the customer know you’d like to learn more about the situation in order to prevent similar experiences in the future. 

 

8. Keep a factual account of all complaints

This way the organization can learn from the mistakes and make improvements over time. It also provides your company with a written record of the complaint in case the issue escalates.

 

What’s the Impact of a Negative Review?

Negative reviews can affect businesses in several ways:

  • Loss of Potential Customers — Your organization can lose potential customers who read the negative reviews, and they will go to your competitor instead.
  • Loss of Position in Search Rankings — Negative reviews can affect the location’s local search rankings.
  • Loss of Repeat Customers — Negative customer experiences may cause the location to lose repeat customers.

To avoid receiving negative reviews, make sure your customers can easily communicate with you to attempt to fix the situation first before posting online. Always offer excellent customer service in all your interactions with customers.

 

How Many Customers Trust Reviews

According to a 2020 consumer insight report by Trustpilot, as many as nine out of ten shoppers read reviews before making a purchase, and 79% of shoppers say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This means that your company’s overall reputation, whether good or bad, can be affected by something as simple as a few words posted on the Internet. If you’ve received a negative review but were able to resolve the issue in the end, so much the better!  With a proactive approach, you can quickly nip any issues in the bud before they escalate and more effectively boost your brand’s reputation. 

Chatmeter’s platform can help your team manage multiple business listings to stay on top of your reputation management, speak with one of our experts today to learn more!