The Dos and Don’ts of Responding to Negative Online Reviews

The Dos and Don'ts of Responding to Negative Online Reviews - Consultus Digital

We get it. You work hard to provide great service, so seeing a negative review about your business can feel devastating. Before you get too upset, remember that negative reviews are opportunities to receive valuable feedback, and to extend great customer service online.

Online reviews are an important reflection of a business’s reputation. This is exactly why you should take the matter of responding to bad reviews seriously and intentionally. In this article, we will take a look at some crucial dos and don’ts of responding to bad reviews, so you can turn a negative review into a positive for your brand’s reputation.

Do Monitor Reviews Regularly and Respond Promptly

The first step to responding to negative reviews effectively is to notice them and acknowledge them as soon as possible. You should be checking your reviews across Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other popular sites regularly to keep up to date with what people are saying about your business. 

Did you know that 95% of customers read reviews before buying a product or using a service? Monitoring your reviews will give you an idea of how people perceive your business and responding to negative reviews promptly can mitigate potential damage to public perception. 

Try to respond to reviews as quickly as possible, ideally within 48 hours.

Do Remain Polite and Professional

When crafting your response, always remain polite and professional in your tone. If the customer left details about their experience, address their specific concerns and use this as a learning opportunity. If you just received a 1-star review with little or no detail, you can respond by acknowledging their experience and asking for more detail to help improve their concerns. 

If you respond rudely, you can cause even more harm to your brand’s reputation. It is a major red flag that readers will perceive as you not caring about your customers. Before you respond to the review, take a moment to consider the best way to respond. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, try to understand why they are frustrated, and offer a personalized response to their concerns.

Do Apologize and Offer Solutions

It is always a good idea to apologize in your response and to remain solution-focused. Even if you disagree with their statement, always remain respectful and try to resolve any specific complaints. Start by thanking the customer for the feedback, express that you would like to look for a solution, and offer to take the conversation offline.

An example might look something like:

Hi [customer name]. Thank you for your valuable feedback. We care deeply about our customer’s experience and we are sorry it didn’t live up to your expectations. If there is anything more that you would like to share about your experience, please email me at [email address]. We hope to learn and make the experience better for any future visits!

Do Take the Conversation Offline

As mentioned briefly above, it is always better to take discussions offline into a private conversation. You want to avoid any public arguments and prioritize meaningful, constructive conversation about the situation.

If you have their contact information, you can have a representative reach out to the customer directly, or offer your contact information in the response like in the example above. This approach demonstrates your commitment to resolving the problem and allows for a more personalized discussion. 

Don’t Delete Negative Reviews

It can be tempting to avoid any kind of response by simply deleting the review, however, this can backfire in major ways. For one, the reviewer might notice and retaliate by posting more negative reviews across platforms or by spreading the information through word of mouth. This can make your business appear untrustworthy and worsen the impact of the negative review. 

Additionally, people trust businesses that have mixed reviews more. The optimal five-star rating for a business is actually between 4.2 and 4.5 stars. Consumers tend to view 5-star ratings as too good to be true, so you need a few less-than-perfect reviews for things to balance out. 

Don’t Provide Too Many Details About the Situation

A common issue when responding to negative reviews is to expand on the situation, perhaps providing your side of the story or challenging the customer’s claims. This can just exacerbate the situation and lead to a public argument. It is much better to save the details for a private conversation where you can politely address their concerns in more depth. The best response is short, direct, and solution-oriented. 

Don’t Get Defensive or Invite a Rebuttal

Another common mistake is to take the review personally and get defensive in your response. The last thing you want is an online flame war with a customer. Avoid getting heated or deflecting the blame to the customer Even in private conversations with the customer, remain calm, diplomatic, and professional. 

If you are having an emotional reaction to the review, take a moment before you reply so you can provide a more thoughtful and productive response. If your response invites a rebuttal, you want to try to direct it to a private conversation and always maintain a professional tone.

Do Contact Consultus Digital For Help With Reputation Management

You now have the tools to tackle negative online reviews effectively. Remember to always keep the response respectful, short, and direct. With some nuance, negative reviews don’t have to be detrimental to your reputation. 

For more help managing your brand’s reputation, or developing a digital marketing strategy, contact the experts at Consultus Digital. We can help you build a trusted online presence and reputation for your business through curated content, review management, and more.

Feel free to reach out to us for a consultation on how we can assist you in managing online reviews and enhancing your overall review management strategy.

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