Nobody likes a negative review. The person writing it probably wishes they weren’t and the person or business on the receiving end wishes it would just go away. But no business is perfect and negative reviews happen, so the next best thing is learning how to deal with them.
Here are our top 3 tips for coping with negative online reviews.
1. Assume the Reviewer is Right
There are two common situations where a negative reviews occur. Either:
(1) The reviewer didn’t get their way and are upset about it (aka they are in the wrong) or
(2) The reviewer was actually wronged and the business messed up.
Many business owners are quick to assume that all negative reviewers fall into the first category. But it’s actually much more helpful to do the opposite. Assume that all reviewers fall into category 2 until proven otherwise.
Studies show that for every one negative review, there are 26 customers that stay silent. Thus, if someone has gone out of their way to leave a negative review, there is a chance that other customers may be feeling the same way. Before taking offense, be sure to carefully analyze the customer’s complaint. If there are multiple negative reviews, examine them for any reoccurring themes. Maybe your customer service team needs training, or maybe you need to be more clear when explaining the features and benefits of your product..
Either way, assume that the reviewer is right and take notes to improve.
2. Respond Quickly and Politely
When you receive a bad review you want to respond quickly, politely, and helpfully. Take this as an opportunity to reconnect with a customer and try to save the relationship.
Maybe they just didn’t understand how to use the product, or the messaging wasn’t clear and they thought they were getting something entirely different. Maybe the problem really is your fault and needs to be fixed. Or maybe… just maybe, that customer is not the right fit for your business, is having a bad day, or is simply a jerk.
Whatever the situation is, take ownership by responding quickly, acknowledge their concerns, and offer to help. ALWAYS keep it classy (no matter how fired up you are inside).
3. Act on your words.
If you promise a customer who left a negative review a replacement product or discount (or a fix in some other way shape or form) you need to follow through. If you don’t, you’ll have another bad review on your hands.
If you have a number of customers with the same complaint or concern, make sure they feel heard and also, update them on the status of their requests. No matter what you do though, don’t just leave the negative reviews hanging. If you make an improvement, reach out and let them know. They might appreciate this gesture so much that they give you a second chance.
90% of customers check online reviews before purchasing a product. That’s 90%… If your bad reviews stay at the top or start adding up, there’s no doubt this will start to affect the number of people shopping with your store.
You need to get the goodwill flowing freely again so once you’ve identified the issue and improved the process that was lacking, start asking more customers for online reviews (if you believe they had a positive experience, of course).
The best way to respond to negative reviews is to take them as an opportunity to learn, respond quickly, and follow through with your promises. You know, kindergarten stuff. negative reviews might ruin your day for a little while but they can really affect your business in the long haul, so you want to do your best to avoid them. If negative reviews can’t be avoided (and then can’t always be), do your absolute best to acknowledge your customers’ concerns, take them as an opportunity to learn from mistakes or omissions in your service, and act quickly and professionally to alleviate their pain points.
Remember, if one customer had the time to speak out publicly, chances are other customers have felt the same way and remained silent. The review coming to light is a great opportunity for your business to make things right and improve the experience for other silent customers.
And don’t let some negative reviews get you down. We all have “off” days and your customer might have been having one themselves. If they were, you can help make it better. If not, remember not to take it personally ─ you can only do the best with what you have, so make sure to make it count.