How to Respond to Negative Feedback Online

How to Respond to Negative Feedback Online

Testimonials and reviews are the lifeblood of most businesses. With the growing popularity of review sites like Yelp and Google, you should keep tabs to prevent negative reviews from hurting your business.

If you are a successful business, you are going to get a negative review sooner or later. There are ways to turn a negative review into a positive marketing opportunity if you follow these strategies.

Don’t Blame the Customer

We all know the old saying, “The customer is always right.” In reality this isn’t always the case, but you want to keep it in mind when responding to negative comments. Placing blame only feeds the fire and makes your business look less credible.

If the comment is emotionally hurtful to the owner or employee, take some time to respond. You shouldn’t take it personally, but that may be hard to avoid if you are an entrepreneur or small business owner. Write a response and let it sit for a day or two.  Then review it to make sure it isn’t emotionally charged. Rewrite if necessary, and then post. Respond in a professional way that addresses the customer’s concerns.

Owning up to your mistakes shows future customers that you value feedback and are looking out for their best interests. Trying to defend your position will only make your business appear arrogant and repel business.

Keep It Short

Try not to spend too much time writing out your responses, and keep them brief and to the point. You can execute this by simply apologizing for their experience and ask them to contact customer service to resolve the issue. If the customer or client is referring to personal information, don’t delve too deeply into your response. There could be legal concerns.

Listen To Your Customer

If you keep noticing the same complaints, you should take note and apply this information to improve your business. Feedback is valuable to improve the customer experience and uncover common threads that you may be missing. Use comments as a stepping stone to explain your mission, your values, and educate customers about services and products that might benefit them.

For example, if you receive a negative review that your prices are too high, use your response to explain why your prices are higher than your competition. Explain why the process might be better, the customer service is more attentive, or the ingredients are higher quality than the less expensive options.

Offer a Solution

Some businesses offer coupons or a free meal/visit to make up for a negative experience. However, this can lead to an increase in negative reviews as others see the rewards for complaining online. Encourage the customer to contact your customer service department, manager, owner, etc., directly. Then you can offer a discount if the complaint is valid.

Reviews & Responses are Public

Keep in mind that your future customers will be finding these reviews when they are searching online. The way you respond can determine whether they decide to give you their business.

Responding to positive comments shows that you appreciate your customers and have a friendly attitude. Responding to negative comments demonstrates how you value customer service and satisfaction. Try to go above and beyond by offering a thoughtful response that helps resolve the issue in a positive light.

Outsource Your Responses

If you have difficulty responding in a calm, professional manner, you can hire someone to manage it for you. Someone who is not emotionally invested in the business can craft a response, have you check it to make sure it is appropriate, and respond for you.

Have a Laugh

Having a sense of humor can quickly turn a negative review into an excellent opportunity. If your business incorporates humor into its branding you can use this in your responses. Sometimes funny responses are shared by others, resulting in free publicity for you.

Negative reviews are going to happen, but if you are prepared to tackle them in a positive way they can help improve your business. If you need help managing your reviews we can help, contact us for more information.