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Show ’em Who’s Boss: How to Respond to Negative Reviews for Business

how to respond to negative reviews



December 3, 2018

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As a business owner, one of your main goals should be to stack up as many positive reviews from customers as you can. It’ll show people they can trust your business to provide quality products and services.

But no matter how hard you try to avoid it, there is likely going to come a time when a customer is going to leave a negative review for your business. And when you first read the negative review, it’s going to be awfully difficult for you not to take it personally.

In these moments, it’s important to know how to respond to negative reviews. It’ll help you avoid lashing out at a customer and allow you to control your online reputation more effectively.

There are some simple steps you should take whenever you receive a negative review from a customer. Here is how you should go about responding.

Take a Deep Breath and Avoid Responding Right Away

The last thing you want to do after you receive a negative review from a customer is respond right away and allow your emotions to get the best of you. You might end up saying something that you’ll regret later.

Instead, read the review, take a deep breath, and then try to process what you read over the course of at least a few minutes. You might even want to get up from your computer or put your smartphone down and go on a walk to think about the negative review that was left.

By taking this approach, you’ll give yourself an opportunity to provide a thoughtful response. You don’t necessarily want to wait too long to respond, but almost no good can come out of responding immediately.

Think About the Best Possible Way to Respond

Once you’ve given yourself a chance to process the negative review that was left for you, you should consider how exactly you should go about responding. Do you think you should:

  • Leave a comment right on the negative review as your official response to the customer?
  • Call or email the customer to respond to them more directly?
  • Invite the customer to call or email you to speak about their issue with your business further?

You can respond in whichever way you feel is best. But you should weigh all your options before responding.

Knowing what is being said about you online is essential to your business’s reputation.

Focus on Resolving the Issue Mentioned in the Review

The customer who left you a negative review likely had one main issue with the product or service you provided for them.

If you’re a pool builder, maybe they didn’t like the fact that you left their backyard a mess once you were finished with their new pool. If you’re a landscaper, maybe they didn’t like the fact that your crew accidentally ripped out their favorite flowers from the front of their house.

Regardless of what the specific complaint is, you should focus on resolving it when you respond to the customer. You can offer to send your team back out to clean up the customer’s backyard or make arrangements to replace their favorite flowers free of charge.

Whatever you do, make sure you emphasize resolving the issue the customer had in your response. This will go a long way towards letting both the customer and other customers know that your business is committed to resolving any issues that come up when you provide people with products and services.

Ask For Someone to Read Your Response Before Sending It

If you choose to write out a response to a customer and post it online under their review, you should always, always, always have someone else read your response first before you send it out into the world.

When you read your response, it might make perfect sense to you. But when someone else reads it, they might pick up on a snarky or even sarcastic tone in your response that will do more harm than good when you respond.

By having someone else proofread your response, you can make sure that it sounds good and will be well received on the part of your customer.

“User reviews are here to stay, and the longer you wait to start optimizing your reviews, the more you stand to lose.” ~ Forbes

Steer Clear of Responding to the Same Customer More Than Once

After you issue a response to a customer, that customer might respond back to you and continue to complain. At that point, you might be tempted to let loose on the customer, especially if they didn’t take too kindly to your response.

Unless you absolutely have to respond for some reason, you shouldn’t get into back-and-forth conversations or arguments with customers under a negative review. Instead, you should encourage a customer to call you to speak about their complaint further if they want to.

This will show that you’re attentive to the needs of your customers without making it look like you always have to get the last word in with them.

Strive to Get Positive Reviews to Push the Negative One Out of Sight

The best way to move past a negative review is by overshadowing it with tons of positive reviews.

In the aftermath of a negative review, be diligent about trying to get your customers to leave positive reviews for you.

Try sending a follow-up email or text message a few days later reminding them to write a review. You could bump up your chances by 25% as a result.

Your new positive reviews will push the negative review that was left for you into the background and show people that it isn’t a good representation of your business.

Know How to Respond to Negative Reviews in the Right Way

Pool builders, patio creators, and landscapers all rely on the positive reviews of their customers to bring in new business. You can’t afford to have a bunch of negative reviews out there in the world.

At the same time, it’s almost impossible to avoid negative reviews altogether. There is always going to be one customer who is very difficult to please.

By learning how to respond to negative reviews in the right way, you can prevent negative reviews from affecting your company. You can keep your stellar online reputation intact and bring in more business in the future.

Are you struggling to manage your online reputation? Contact us to find out how we can help you with it.

Illustration of people sitting on five yellow stars.

Knowing what is being said about you online is essential to your business’s reputation.

When you schedule a consultation, you receive a complete overview of your Local SEO performance including Search Rankings, Local Listings, Reviews, and On-Site SEO.

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