Customers leave some of their most brutal feedback online- probably because they feel a sense of anonymity behind a laptop screen. Sometimes these comments might be fair, other times…not so much.

When you consider almost 95% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing, the thought of having a lousy review ruining the name of the brand leaves a pit in your stomach.

This begs the question, how do you tackle negative reviews online? Luckily for you, we have some stellar advice for you.

How Do I Handle the Sting?

Getting poor reviews can be cutting. You pour your time and energy into building your business to hear your customers aren’t happy with your service.  

However, instead of feeling upset by the hurtful comments, try to see it as an opportunity to convert the disgruntled customer into a fan of yours.

This means tackling the bad review head on and resolving their comments in a way that addresses all their issues. Show that providing excellent customer service is your priority, no matter how unreasonable the client’s being.

This is a surefire way of gaining the respect of other potential consumers, and you might even turn the angry customer’s opinion around.

Remember This

If you don’t take anything else from this article, remember, no matter how awful and unfair the review is – always remain courteous.

Yes, you’re responding to a troubled customer. You’re also displaying to new buyers that you’re able to handle complaints professionally.

As fellow consumers, potential customers automatically relate to the negative reviewer. The ultimate aim of responding to negative comments is to show the world you care about customer relations.

In short, when you provide excellent customer service, you help rebuild trust with the person leaving the bad review and you create a good impression with new prospects.

Leaders Need to Take Responsibility

Yes, it’s essential business owners delegate work. However, responding to bad reviews isn’t something to pass over to your teammates. When a comment comes from a manager (or someone else in charge), it makes the customer feel heard and respected.

Top Tip: Always sign off your response with your name and job title, this works wonders for helping establish a personal connection.

Be Specific

Use this an opportunity to shine. You don’t want to pass off your response as generic. This is a surefire way to annoy your customers.

So take the time and effort to personalize each and every response.

Don’t use the same response you’ve got as a draft for handling poor reviews. Clients can spot these a mile away, and you’ll run the risk of creating more damage with a lousy response to their query!

This means staying away from the word “this.” Every time you write “this,” you’re not referring to the actual problem. Instead, you’re distancing yourself from it.

Being specific also means coming up with an actual solution. You can’t just “apologize for the inconvenience” and hope it’ll resolve itself.

Your Tone of Voice is Key

An apology means nothing if you’re not gracious in your tone. Stay polite and warm. The last thing you want is to come across as passive-aggressive. Mastering the tone of your response is key to defusing a hostile situation.

Occasionally, this means taking a step back from the situation and cooling off. This gives you time and space to write a response that isn’t defensive.

Provide Clarity

Like we’ve already said, sometimes you get bad reviews because the customer’s expectations weren’t met.

Maybe there was a misunderstanding? Or a lapse in communication? Whatever the issue is, you need to clarify the issue gently.

Use this as an opportunity to educate your consumers politely. Not only should this appease the disgruntled customer, but it should also explain the problem for other prospects skimming through your reviews.

Go Above and Beyond

If you want to inspire people to think better of your company, you need to take action. Think about what would help them feel better about the situation, then go above and beyond their expectations.

If you can, offer them a freebie. This shows you care more about customer experience than profit margins. On the whole, people respond really well to this!

Ask them to Update their Poor Review

If you’re able to fix their issue. There’s nothing wrong with asking the reviewer to edit their comments. In no time at all this horrific review could become a glowing one!

Just reach out and ask. After all, if you don’t ask you don’t get. Be sure to be polite. Remember you’re asking them a favor, so act like it.

For more information on how to handle negative customer reviews, visit the site we’ve just linked to. You’ll find plenty more advice on the subject.

Don’t Let It Happen Again

Yes, mistakes happen, it’s only natural. What really matters is what you learn from the issue. If a customer raised a genuine concern, make sure the problem doesn’t happen again.

Take their complaints on board and take action. Whether that means educating your staff, clarifying your offers on your website, or quickening the response time of your customer support team.

Did You Enjoy This Blog Post About Negative Reviews?

If you found this article on how to handle negative reviews interesting, we’re confident you’ll love the other features over on our ‘business and finance blog‘. Enjoy!

Alternatively, if you’ve any questions or queries for us, please feel free to fill out our contact form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Speak soon!

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