How should I respond to a negative review?

How should I respond to a negative review?

Is there any positive in the negative?

Deciding how to respond to a negative review in a positive way can often be challenging, particularly if you are feeling a little hurt and even confused if an incident has occurred with one of your staff members and it’s the first time you’ve heard about it. Not only do you have the difficult task in replying to your customer and making sure there is damage limitation towards your business, you also have the sensitive issue of dealing with your member of staff.

We are human, we make mistakes, it happens. Receiving a negative review, believe it or not, can be a positive experience in the long run. Ask yourself is it something you can learn from and make any relevant improvements? After all is said and done, we are all constantly learning.

So what is the best way forward?

Probably the best way is not to reply to a negative review straight away when emotions are running high, an emotional response will be very different to a considered and thought out response.

It’s always best to re-read the review after stepping away and when you’ve had time to calm down and gather all of your evidence. Often when reading a negative review for the second or third time, it may not sound as bad than when first read. You can then start to think of a more rational response.

Although, don’t leave it too long, an unhappy customer won’t like to be kept waiting!

Things you may want to consider when responding to a negative review –

When working out how to handle a negative review, it’s important that you provide a way for the reviewer to get in touch. Provide a name, phone number or email address where you can discuss the issue further and help provide a solution to the problem.

Most people will find it easier to respond to a positive view more so than a negative one and we are more likely to want to shout it from the rooftops! After all, these are the testimonials that tell any potential customers how good we really are.

Remember to reply with gratitude, thank your customer for their review in the first instance, you could even add a little marketing in your response, by mentioning your brand or product in the reply. Or if feeling generous, it could be a good opportunity to bring out any voucher or discount offers to encourage a return visit.

Try not to write a generic response that is used time and time again. Acknowledge what is said and reply accordingly showing that you have read and demonstrate that you appreciate what is being said.

It is important to respond to all reviews in a positive manner. When negative reviews are left, it’s a good idea to break the review into chunks of text and look for the more positive areas and focus on these in your reply.

Take note of the feedback, it’s a good opportunity to see if there are any trends in the reviews such as; the service was slow or something wasn’t quite up to the mark. Although this may make you feel a little despondent, it could be an opportunity to make improvements and ensure a better customer experience in the future.

If you’re still struggling, take a look halfway down this article that contains some nice examples of negative review responses.

Whatever your experience with reviews always look for the positive first, work backwards and address issues according to priority i.e. damage limitation, after all we want customers to leave happy and wanting more.


  Article written by Rob Mackley -
Small Business Web Expert, Founder of Red Box Web Design and creator of the pay monthly website package RED BOX ALL-IN™


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