How to Respond to a Bad Review: 5 Simple Steps
No business owner likes to get negative feedback. Because of their visibility and seeming permanence, bad reviews online can be particularly stinging. You work hard to provide your customers with the best products and services. So bad reviews online from a customer can sometimes feel unfair; an inconsequential comment for them could permanently tarnish a brand you’ve labored over.
The truth is: that we can’t be all things to all people and every successful business has dealt with their fair share of customer dissatisfaction. In fact, dealing with a negative review online is an art. If you respond well, you can actually attract future customers rather than repel them. Managed correctly, a negative review can be a real opportunity.
Here are 5 simple steps for turning a bad review into an opportunity to double down on your stellar customer service approach and win more business.
1. Don’t ignore a bad review.
Ignoring a bad review online might seem like the sanest thing to do in the moment. After all, you don’t want to get into a back and forth with the customer, giving them more of a platform. And you especially don’t want that back and forth to get heated because anyway you remember that person and the interaction did not happen like they said it did. Isn’t it best to disengage?
The answer is “no.” 88% of customers say they trust reviews online. So, leaving a negative comment unanswered sends the signal that you don’t care about your customers.
2. Respond promptly and courteously.
Despite how it may feel in the moment, a bad review is a good opportunity for any business owner to improve their services. So, treat it as such. Apologize for the customer’s negative experience. Publicly acknowledging a customer’s grievance can often go a long way towards quelling their dissatisfaction. You’ll likely be surprised by how effective a short response can be.
In fact, statistics show that 34% of disgruntled customers who receive a response from a company respond by then posting a positive review. And 34% will take down their original complaint. Not only can this public attention ameliorate a difficult situation, it reassures other customers that should they have a complaint with your services you will attend to them in a swift and reasonable manner.
3. Use this opportunity to say something positive about your brand.
Bad reviews sting for a basic reason: you take pride in your work and falling short of your goals hurts. So, take this opportunity to publicly reaffirm your brand’s commitment to excellence. You might say just that: “We’re so sorry you had a bad experience with us. We strive for excellence.”
A succinct message like this helps you reclaim a potentially damaging narrative. What’s more it tells the public what you stand for.
4. Keep it short and simple.
Keep your responses to negative reviews courteous, gracious, and succinct. Don’t attempt to refute your customer or set the record straight. Any attempt to argue will likely quickly devolve into an online argument and other customers don’t care if you got something wrong, they care how quickly and graciously you offer to fix it.
5. Move it to a private forum.
Publicly invite the customer to contact you on a private forum (through email or DM) so that you can rectify the situation. This way you avoid a lengthy back and forth on a public forum that will only boost the visibility of the post. Also, dealing with a disgruntled customer on a non-public platform can help de-escalate a difficult situation. Without an audience, cooler heads often prevail.
If your customer doesn’t want to talk privately but continues to respond on the public platform, you can justifiably bow out of the conversation. Other customers will see that you responded professionally, reasonably, and in good faith.
Bad Reviews, Good Reviews, Respond to Them All!
We’ve seen that bad reviews are a good opportunity to dazzle online customers with your customer service skills, but why stop there? If you respond to all of your online reviews, good and bad, with a brief but tailored response, you will build customer trust, loyalty, and foster positive customer experiences.
97% of consumers say they are influenced by reviews in general so why not take care of your online reviews and reward your good reviewers with a simple thank you? As you know, high quality good reviews will increase your business’ visibility on Google. So not only does attending to all your reviews increase customer satisfaction, it may also increase your business’ SEO!