Master the Art of Negative Review Response 
Updated: December 1, 2022
Yelp is cracking down on paid reviews by increasing its filtering service to try to deter companies from producing fake reviews. Now, along with the help of Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, Chatmeter would like to give some tips and advice on responding correctly to reviews.
Yelp has developed a new video series called Inside Yelp, which is designed to help customers and businesses better understand their services. In one of the first videos, CEO Jeremy Stoppelman explains the reasons behind the review filter and also offers a few points on how to respond to a negative review.
The first thing he says is that you need to accept that you will receive negative reviews. Bad things are bound to happen that may be out of your control. You can’t expect everyone who comes into your business to be 100% satisfied. Things do happen.
Responding to all reviews, especially the negative ones, prove to be an extremely helpful tactic, if done correctly. However, if done incorrectly, you may just be adding fuel to the fire. According to Jeremy, the below tips should be directly incorporated into your review management strategy and referred to whenever a response is written:
- Take a deep breath and think about the review. Give yourself time to really think about the comment and reflect.
- Don’t stress about a handful of poor reviews, and think about the “big picture.” Consumers know that they will see negative reviews on your business page. One review won’t end your business or count for everything.
- Take the negative review as constructive criticism. You want to take these reviews to heart and learn from what your consumers are saying.
Although Jeremy’s tips above are a great place to start, we at Chatmeter suggest that you also consider a few other things before you respond to a negative review. Check out the additional tips below, along with an example review response template you can utilize in your review response strategy.
Thank Your Reviewers
They took the time to write about your business. You need to show your appreciation, even if you don’t love everything they’re saying. While we do recommend replying to every review, we know that it’s not feasible for every brand. If you can’t respond to every single review, we recommend that you respond to all negative reviews, and at least 1 out of 5 positive and neutral ones.
Example: “Thank you for telling us about your experience. Your feedback helps us do better. We strive to provide our customers with the best experience possible and are looking into this issue along with the appropriate resolution.”
Be Nice with Your Review Response
The last thing you want to do is get into an online argument with an angry customer. Not only will this make the customer even more enraged, but other people may also see this threat and think negatively about your brand. You want to keep your responses courteous, useful, and relatable. Try to drive the reviewer to contact you offline to discuss the issue further.
Example: “We would like the opportunity to investigate your feedback further. Please contact us at [Email Address] or call our team at [Phone Number]. We’ll work with you to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.”
Don’t Take Negative Reviews Personally
Remember. Your customers are reflecting on their specific experience with your brand when they write reviews — not you personally. You want to reply in a manner that addresses the experience while maintaining a professional demeanor.
Example: “We always aim to deliver a great experience for all our customers and regret that we missed the mark in this case. Thanks for taking the time to bring this to our attention. We will use the feedback to improve and ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Offer to Make Things Right
When dealing with negative feedback, try to avoid cookie-cutter responses that do not resolve or address any specific issues raised in the review. If you can do nothing to fix what happened, take ownership and promise to make things right in the future.
Example: “We strive to provide a positive experience to everyone who comes in. Please understand that this situation was an unfortunate exception. We can’t fix the past, but you have our personal commitment to improving the way our staff serves every customer. Please accept my sincerest apologies on behalf of everyone on the team.”
While the first three tips were drawn from Yelp, all the tips mentioned above should be considered when responding to a review on any type of review site or social media platform.
These tips should be taken into account for all businesses, regardless of size, whether you are a franchise with 100 locations or a small mom-and-pop shop with only one. Correctly responding to negative reviews is extremely important.
Remember that just one bad review can cost you upwards of 30 new customers!
Consumer-based websites are not going away. You need to make sure you know how to manage them correctly and are making the most of your review management strategy. The biggest takeaway is to never respond irrationally. Always think about what you are going to say, and ensure that it properly reflects your business and the experience you want your consumers to get.
We at Chatmeter have done research into finding some of the best review-based websites that allow businesses like yours to respond to their reviews properly. Check out the list below and see how your company can utilize any of these websites as a part of your review management and brand reputation strategy.
- Google Maps
- Insider Pages
- Merchant Circle.com