Reputation Management

Tips to responding to negative online reviews

Negative reviews are hard to hear

for a business owner who truly believes in what one’s company provides for its customers.

Perhaps the reviewer simply slipped through the cracks and was left feeling less than satisfied. Or maybe the customer just didn’t enjoy what you have to offer. Either way, not everyone is going to love you and your business one hundred percent of the time and along the way, you may encounter a negative review.

The good news is: You can manage how you respond.

And if you handle it well, you can turn it all around.

With the proper response, you can often turn an angry hater into a happy return customer.

Here are some of our top tips for responding to negative online reviews:

1. Always respond. Take a deep breath and calm yourself, but always respond and do it in a timely manner. You don’t want a bad review to remain out there without a response.
2. Thank the commenter. Always thank the person for taking the time to provide feedback. Good or bad, feedback is important to learning how to better run your business
3. Apologize to them. The power of an apology is immense! An apology can immediately break down anger barriers and diffuse the situation. If someone feels slighted by you, your company or an employee, a response is due.
4. Address the issue with a possible explanation, but don’t be defensive. State your side of the story if there is an explanation as to why some confusion has occurred. Keep it very brief and succinct so it resembles an explanation rather than an excuse.
5. Provide your direct contact information.  This way the customer can reach you directly if they would like to discuss further – and this will take the issue offline. Encourage the commenter to reach out to you so you can reach a solution that makes him/her happy.
6. Provide an apology bonus. If you are able to, offer an incentive to make up for the issue. Offer free shipping on the next order or a coupon for a free item next time.

If you are not comfortable with responding yourself, hire someone to do it for you. We happily offer this service to our marketing and public relations clients.