How to Respond to a Negative Online Review

How to Respond to a Negative Online Review

No matter how well you run your business, there will always be the occasional customer who slips through the cracks and has a negative customer experience. To make matters worse, they then go and leave a negative review on your Google or Facebook business profile.

As bad as it may seem, negative business reviews are not the worst thing that can happen to your business. They present an opportunity to receive real customer feedback and allow you to consider new processes for your business. After all, if a person has taken the time to write feedback for your business, it is probably because they feel you can improve.

Always respond

Ideally, you should respond to every review you receive, whether they are negative or positive. Although this isn’t always possible if you receive many so negative reviews should always take priority. It is important to respond even if you think they may not be a real customer. Research shows 89% of users who read reviews also read the businesses replies. So if you don’t respond correctly then it will reflect badly on your business to these readers. Once you have responded you can take the required action to try and get the negative review removed but as this isn’t always possible at least for now you have negated the impact of it.

How to reply

We know that your business is your income and criticism can be really hard to take, even you know it not to be true. However, bad replies can have a bad outcome. Let’s say you have a restaurant listed on Google and a dissatisfied customer has left a negative review of your business. Once you have read the comment carefully take a deep breath and try to stay calm. Maybe the feedback is valid and a staff member had a bad day, it happens. Whatever the issue it is not personal and it is super important to remember that before you type a reply. 

Once you are ready think carefully about what you are going to answer and make a plan of action.  Sometimes a simple response is all it takes to overcome the problem. We always think it is best to offer an apology, the reviewer has taken the time to comment on your business so you should acknowledge that and try to rectify the situation. Below we’ve listed some examples of what we consider great replies to negative reviews for some inspiration:

Providing an explanation:

Austin City Dental Negative Online Review

Taking it outside your business profile:

Honda of thousand oaks

Follow up approach:

Chilli Pickle

Friendly acknowledgement:

A quick follow up:

What else can you include in a response?

There’s plenty of extra mentions you might want to include in a reply to a negative review. In many cases it will depend on the content of the review but below are some of our top suggestions.

  1. You may want to offer some incentive as a way of apology. It could be a small discount on an item or a free meal. If you do choose to do this, keep in mind the user did not have a good experience the first time so it’s unlikely they would revisit. Mentioning something along the lines of “we really hope you give us another chance” is a great way to emphasise with the reviewer. 
  2. You may also want to take the feedback away from the profile so provide your email and ask them to reach out to resolve the issue quicker. 
  3. Providing an explanation can also help the reviewer to understand things from your perspective. Keep in mind that the reviewer is already going to be annoyed so it’s still best to apologise to begin with, even if you feel you are not at fault.
Accept it and move on

All successful businesses will at some point get a negative review. If your business is popular and you are getting more customers it is almost inevitable at some point somebody will not be happy. The best way to improve your online reputation is to respond accordingly and keep a level head. With more people than ever looking at your reviews you want to come across as the nice guys so you keep getting more customers.

Have you taken a look at our Get Reviews platform? Repuzen helps small and local businesses get more positive reviews by capturing negative reviews before they hit your inbox. It’s easy to set up and you can get started today.

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