How to Respond to Negative Customer Reviews

Oct 20, 2022 | Engage

One of the most difficult things for a business owner to deal with is receiving negative reviews about their products or services. No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to please everyone.

But despite this fact, negative reviews can actually be beneficial for your business in some ways. For one thing, they add an element of authenticity to the comments section – which unknowingly helps build trust with customers. In addition, potential buyers often rely on negative reviews when deciding which products to buy.

However, when a negative review is written unjustly, it can be easy to respond emotionally instead of rationally. In these situations, it’s best to take a step back and get some outside perspective before making any hasty decisions.

1. Whenever This Happens, Take a Breather

When you see rude or negative comments online, it can be easy to get upset and respond in the same way. But this isn’t the best way to handle things. You may not be able to control how other people behave, but you can control your own response.

If you get upset and respond negatively, you will be creating two problems for yourself:

  • A dissatisfied customer
  • Public evidence of your unwillingness to reach out to your customer and settle the case

So take a deep breath and think things through.

2. Get to Know the Problem at Hand

Before you do anything about a customer complaint, make sure you do your own investigation into what happened. Gather all the details you need (date and time of purchase, name of customer, item purchased, etc.) so that you can study the situation properly.

After studying the situation, you should have a good idea of what went wrong and how to defend against further problems.

3. Plan your Response Before Hitting “Send”

You’ve probably received some negative feedback about your products or services. It can be tough to hear, but it’s important to listen and learn from these experiences.

When responding to negative feedback, think about what logical steps you can take to address the customer’s concerns. Your goal isn’t necessarily to argue with them; instead, aim to provide excellent customer service by going above and beyond what is expected.

You may have a few different responses prepared depending on the situation. Once you write down your thoughts, imagine how the thread might proceed from the customer’s point of view. Keep in mind that even though things don’t always work out in your favor, there are often things you can do ahead of time to prepare yourself for any potential outcomes.

Finally, be sincere in your desire to help customers solve their issues — this will go a long way towards making them happy again!

4. Apologize with Genuineness

Customer service is essential in today’s world. Research shows that 87% of Americans believe that good customer service alters purchasing behavior. In times like these, customers don’t really pay attention to the technicalities. All they want to hear is that you empathize with them and that you’re ready to help them out.

Given that a customer’s dissatisfaction wasn’t entirely your fault, saying sorry doesn’t automatically mean that there was a mistake on your end. Often times, a simple apology is a sign of empathy — that you are truly sorry for their negative experience and that you would do whatever it takes to resolve it.

Doing so would make your customers feel that you truly care for them, that you heard their complaints and that you are there to help them out.

5. Show Them That Your Company Holds High Standards

After acknowledging the customer’s negative experience, provide reassurance to your future review readers that your business has a good track record in terms of customer service.

You can write things like “We are usually known for our excellent customer service and we regret that we have not met your expectations.

6. Take the Conversation Offline

A bad experience can often be smoothed over with one reply, but it’s rare for companies to be able to do this. The reason being is that you don’t want to start an online conflict that’s visible to the public – so instead, take the conversation offline.

Give out your contact information or your representative’s name and make them feel and understand that you take their concerns seriously.

“Let us know what we can do to help you out. Please call us at ___ and speak to ____, our ___. We’d be glad to discuss the details with you and make things right to give you a better experience here at (your company).”

7. Explain What Happened

Don’t just apologize when your customer writes negative feedback about your company. Apologies are important, but they don’t resolve the underlying issues that led to the complaint in the first place.

What went wrong? What contributed to the delay? Why were their expectations not met? Or simply why whatever they were seeking was not provided.

However, sometimes the reason for a customer’s dissatisfaction does not reflect on your brand – what then? Simply clarify that this complaint does not reflect on the quality of products and services you offer.

And lastly, give them step-by-step instructions on how to use your product correctly.

8. Present a List of Solutions

It’s always a good idea to apologize to your customers for any inconvenience that they may have experienced. However, it is even more important that you actually resolve the issue. Otherwise, not only have you wasted their time – but yours as well.

To reach out to your customers and discuss the problem at hand, go above and beyond to show them that satisfying customers is one of your brand’s top priorities.

Sometimes problems can’t be solved within minutes; in those cases, give your customers a specific and transparent timeline that they can follow for updates and progress.

9. If you Cannot Solve the Problem, Offer Alternatives

When things don’t go as planned, it’s important to provide customers with the necessary support they need. Whether it’s a product defect, delay in shipping, or unavailability of products and services, there are many ways to address these issues.

For example, you can offer an alternative solution such as replacing the product or offering a discount on their next purchase. In some cases, you may even have to refund them in full. It’s important to study out all your options and find the balance between being fair to both yourself and your customers.

10. Give Them an Assurance

It is important to do everything possible to ensure that the same mistake does not happen again.

Customer feedback can be very helpful in this regard, so make sure to include any beneficial comments in your response. This will show potential clients and angry customers that you take their feedback seriously and respond immediately.

11. Thank Them for Their Review

It is always a good idea to show your customers gratitude for taking the time to leave a review. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it is important to acknowledge their efforts. They took the time out of their day to share their experience with your products and services, which can sometimes be difficult.

Doing so can also help you spot areas that you might have overlooked or missed during your service offering.

12. Ask Them if They can Revise their Initial Feedback

It’s always tough when a customer isn’t happy with their experience. But as long as you make things right, there’s nothing wrong with politely asking them to update their review on your page.

Now that you’ve remedied the situation, there’s no reason not to ask your now-pacified customer for an update on their review. Here are some points to remember:

Be sure to give out a timely response. 38% of customers expect businesses to respond and resolve issues within a day, while 30% expect answers within 3 days. To get notifications of reviews about your company, set up review alerts or develop a review response tool so you wouldn’t have to log in and out of different sites manually.

It is important for businesses to have a solid review response policy in place. This will ensure that those who are assigned to this department are aware of the guidelines and can follow them accordingly. A good example of this is one where 97% of people read reviews, it is important for companies to have a set of guidelines on how customer reviews must be dealt with.

Customer satisfaction is key to any successful business. It is important to remember that negative feedback can often be turned around with some simple, thoughtful steps. When responding to negative feedback, keep these three tips in mind:

  1. You want your response to be short and to-point. Again, situations may differ but it can be useful to remember that sometimes less is more.
  2. Remember that future customers might come across this review and how you respond truly matters. Do not start an online war with whoever sent your business a negative feedback – apologize, show that your business holds high standards and take it offline (preferably via phone/in person).
  3. Review these steps and exhibit a highly-responsive customer service – it will pay off in dividends!

It is no secret that companies do their best to get rid of negative reviews. However, not all of these reviews are bad. In fact, negative feedback can actually help your business in a number of ways. This is why it is so important for you as a business owner to come up with a plan for responding to them.

When handled and answered properly, negative reviews can build trust and attract or retain customers. So the next time you come across one, take it as an opportunity to showcase customer service like never before. Help out your customers, go above and beyond what is expected, and make them happy. We hope you’ve learned a few things of how to respond to negative customer reviews.

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