The Best Ways to Respond to Negative Customer Reviews
Responding properly to negative customer reviews shows your commitment to your customers and providing them with excellent service.
You might have heard this popular saying: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”.
Any incident that draws attention to your brand can make you popular, yes. You might even be tempted to just let things take their course, however, businesses should consider any positive or negative customer feedback seriously and promptly.
Why online reviews are important to your business
Online reviews build trust, elevate the brand’s reputation, connect with your customers and drive sales.
Unsurprisingly, 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product. Potential market audiences heavily rely on customer feedback.
It’s crucial to note as a business owner that customers who have a bad experience are twice to three times more likely to write an angry review, rather than record a positive one. Many expect a high level of service to their specific needs. And they tend to express their opinions online if those needs aren’t met.
Negative reviews can be a good opportunity if you look at them in a practical business sense. They will force you to change or improve how your system works, re-engage your irate customer and increase customer satisfaction.
Therefore, your response to these reviews is critical to your success as a business.
It may seem counterintuitive, but a disgruntled customer is a good opportunity to show your company’s integrity and excellent customer service, and even turn that same person into a loyal fan afterwards.
How to handle negative customer feedback online
Respond immediately, do not delay or ignore
The negative reviews may be unwarranted at times, but your online presence matters and your reputation is at stake. And while you cannot control a person’s opinion or preference, you can control how to respond.
Showing urgency to deal with the matter at hand shows respect to your customer. You display concern and care by attentively coordinating with their concerns, no matter how trivial they are.
You’ll also likely prevent the matter from escalating with your swift response.
Be personable, address the reviewer by their name
We love to be attended to directly because our brains involuntarily respond to the sound of our own names.
Addressing your customers by their name instantly gives you leverage because you care to know how to acknowledge them instead of using generic terms. You demonstrate that you see your customer as a person, not just one of the many you deal with every single day.
Acknowledge and apologize for their bad experience with your product/service
Always be humble. Recognize the problem being pointed out by your customer and express regret for not measuring up to their expectations.
Also, build rapport through empathy. Show that you’re interested to know the source of their dissatisfaction.
More often than not, an unhappy customer may simply be having a bad day, and the unhappy encounter with your service or product aggravates their situation.
Explain the events or situation that led to the bad experience
Be clear on how and why the incident took place on your end. This will give the customer insight into your operation’s process and management.
By giving them these details, the dissatisfied customer may understand your position better and help them calm down.
State how you’re going to solve the issue
First, acknowledge and define the problem your customer is complaining about. Then, narrow down the possible solutions you can offer and ask them if they will be satisfied with your offers.
This will give your customer the choice and empower them to make a decision that can satisfy them.
Or simply give them the best resolution that you can provide if you don’t have many options.
Offer a gift to entice them to give you another chance
It’s inevitable that sometimes you’re clearly at fault. You may slip up and cause errors no matter how involved you are in the daily operations of your business.
But another way to try and give a bad reviewer a more positive impression of your business is by sincerely asking them for a second chance. Especially if the issue can really affect your brand or if it’s a unique occurrence.
It can be in the form of a gift card, free shipping, a big discount or anything you can offer to convince them to come back and buy from you again.
Don’t delete bad reviews – they create transparency and trust
Leave the comment section as is, even if it includes negative customer feedback. But you should immediately and gracefully reply to each review, whether they’re positive or negative.
This demonstrates to everyone that you take note of your customer’s experiences with thoughtful consideration. And that you see them as someone who supports your business.
A public forum without heavy-handed moderation or blocking any negative feedback shows that you’re willing to correct and improve your system to better serve them. It forms a favorable image for your business because you don’t have anything to hide.
Happy Customers Mean Happy Business
It all boils down to how your business responds to such cases.
They can ease the tension and create a good lasting impression not only to the disgruntled customer but to others who rely on online reviews before deciding to purchase your product or service.
Having said that, don’t make empty promises that you will take steps to solve the issue that led to the bad review. Take action to resolve it. Make it your rule to consider your customer’s feedback as your guide to improving your service or product quality.
Otherwise, the bad reviews will get out of hand, and you’ll lose customers.