It's a fact of life that 100% of businesses will undoubtedly receive a negative review online. So how do you respond without taking it personally, but also ensuring future customers see your side of the story?
The Internet has allowed the public to unleash their inner Matt Preston, giving them the power to (seemingly) topple an entire business with a 1-star rating and a poorly detailed outline of their experience.
No need to stress. We're hear to steer you through the sea of hate, over exaggeration and threats so that you can give future customers peace of mind when searching your business online.
Respond to All Your Reviews
Something we stress to our clients all the time is to respond to literally every review you receive.
Responding to negative or neutral reviews is one of the best ways to give your future customers peace of mind when researching your business online. It shows potential customers how you deal with problems, that you're actively looking to improve your product/service, and that you care about what your customers think.
No one cares about all the 5-star reviews you've received - they're going to go straight to the 10 people who had a bad experience to see what happened and how you dealt with the situation.
Be a Lover, Not a Fighter
No matter how right or wrong the reviewer is in any scenario, you don't ever want to come across as confrontational when responding to reviews.
Your response is not a personal message to the reviewer - it's a broader statement about your business that is published online and will shape a future customers perception of your business.
Ask yourself how to resolve the issue, not how you can make someone look like they're in the wrong. A majority of people who read reviews can tell if someone is too disgruntled and is posting to hurt your business. Let them be in their feelings and show how you're willing to negotiate and listen to all feedback.
Types of Negative Reviews
Below is our most wanted list of all the negative reviewers you will come across and how to deal with them accordingly.
The 'No Feedback'
A good percentage of negative reviews will have no feedback - just a 1-star rating to leave you feeling empty inside.
Obviously you want to find out why you received a low rating, so the best way to respond to these reviews is to ask for further details about their experience and how you can improve.
This shows future customers you're open to feedback and willing to listen to all customers.
Hi *Reviewer Name*, we're sorry to see you had a negative experience with us! We'd like to find out more about your experience so we can improve for your next visit. You can reach us at xxxxx with any feedback.
The Disgruntled Customer
The most feared negative review of all. These are the reviews that are slanderous, generally rude and have only one aim - to ensure that someone reading your reviews decides to take their business elsewhere.
We've all read the classic review that goes along the lines of, "do you know who I am? You'll be shut down by next week!"
Even if you have done nothing wrong, an apology that the reviewer had a negative experience will never go astray. Asking for specific details about reviewers concerns, and involving a member of management is all you will need to give trust and support to any future customer looking at reviews.
If a review is left on social media and the reviewer continues to attack you, even though you are being more than reasonable, your best plan is to block them. You can't save 'em all.
The quicker you can take the conversation offline the better. If you get a chance to talk to a person face to face or over the phone, it will make for a much easier resolution and possible chance for them to remove their negative review or change it.
Hi *Reviewer Name*, we're very sorry to hear about your experience with us. Our manager, xxxxxxx, would like to reach out to you personally to get more details and discuss your experience with us in depth to resolve any issues. You can reach out to us at xxxxxxx.
The Constructive Critic (A.K.A 'The Unicorn')
Nicknamed for their rarity, we could only dream that every negative review was eloquently written and detailed.
These reviewers are the ones who have genuinely been wronged by your business and give coherent detail as to what negative experience they've had.
A small majority of these reviews are left our Matt Preston wannabees who are 'Local Guides' on Google because they have the time to sit down and write 1000 reviews based off every 5 second interaction they've had with every business in a 500m radius, but I digress.
These reviews are probably the worst hit to your business in terms of potential customer perception, as they can see genuine mistakes your business has made rather than an over the top reaction from a disgruntled customer outlined above.
You can approach these reviews in a similar manner to Disgruntled Customers, however if you know you are in the wrong, be very specific in your response about how or why a mistake occurred, and how you will make up for it or compensate the customer.
Hi *Reviewer Name*, we're very sorry to hear about your negative experience with us. We don't tolerate any form of xxxxxxxxx at *business name* and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused. Our manager would like to extend their apologies and offer you xxxxxxxx as compensation for your experience. If you could send your details to xxxxxx, we will be in touch.
The Confused Rating
"Wow, the food was truly remarkable! We'll be back very soon." - Tom, 2/5 Stars
You've always got to give people benefit of the doubt, unless that person is leaving reviews incorrectly which are detrimental to someone's business.
It's easy enough to handle these reviews - simply acknowledge their excellent comments and ask if they wouldn't mind increasing their rating to reflect their comments. It never hurts to ask in this circumstance!
Hi *Reviewer Name*, thanks for the kind comments! It looks like you had a great time with us, so it'd mean a lot to us if you could change your rating to reflect your experience. Alternatively, if you did have any feedback for us, you can reach us at xxxxxxxxxx.
Responding to negative reviews is the perfect way to show potential customers that you're open to any and all criticism, willing to admit to mistakes, and also rectify any issues that may occur.
This gives any customer researching your business peace of mind that if they give you a shot and have a bad experience, that there is little to no risk as you will take care of any issues.
Always remain neutral in your responses, as anything you post online can be used for or against your businesses holistic perception.
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