It’s every business owner’s worst nightmare; you go on Google, and to your horror, there’s a negative review for your company. Instantly, you go into panic mode thinking about the consequences this has on your reputation.
You know bad reviews can turn away potential customers. Now you think everyone will avoid your business just because of this negative review.
While there’s no denying a bad review can impact your business, things can be improved by simply responding to it.
If you know how to respond to negative reviews, it will lessen the blow and can even help your company as well. As such, it’s strongly advised that you read through this guide to learn how to respond to bad reviews the right way, and why it’s so important.
Why you should respond to bad reviews
We’ll begin with the why; why do you have to respond to all of your bad reviews? Well, on a base level, it’s a form of damage control.
If someone has a problem, you can respond to them to try and address the issue. Instantly, you save your reputation by showing that you’re willing to listen to negative reviews and work on the bad aspects of your company.
From a consumer standpoint, it’s so impressive when a business takes the time to listen to negative feedback and respond to it. If anything, it can actually convince customers to return to your business because you seem so professional and authentic.
It’s also a way to explain why someone’s experience might have been poor.
For example, if you run a restaurant and someone complains that the dining experience was bad as it was freezing cold, you could respond by telling them why this was the case. It could transpire that your heating system broke for that day, so this was a one-off occurrence.
Now, a potential customer reads that response and instantly negates the bad review. But, if you left it how it was, they’d read it and think “hmm, I don’t want to dine here if it’s cold!”.
Unhappy customers appreciate a response
Customers feel more valued when you respond to their feedback as well, which further builds loyalty with them. Even the act of apologizing is enough to change someone’s opinion and put them in a better mood.
The best way to explain why you need to respond is to imagine what happens when you don’t. You’ve got negative reviews that are just sitting there with no reply at all. It merely makes your business look a lot worse than it actually is, while your responses help lessen the negative impact they have.
What to say when replying to a negative review
It’s not good enough to just reply to a bad review with a short response. There are specific things you need to do for your reply to have the impact you’re hoping for.
To help you out, here’s what you should do:
1. Start with an apology
All of your responses to bad reviews should start with some form of an apology.
Sympathize with your customer, telling them you’re sorry that they feel this way, or you’re sorry they had a bad experience. Regardless of whether you think their review was warranted or not, you have to begin with an apology.
Instantly, you take ownership of the issue, which makes you look like a far more professional and respectful business.
Imagine if you began your reply by saying “Well, we’re not sorry because it’s your fault you didn’t like our business” – it would look absolutely terrible, your reputation would be finished!
2. Respond to negative reviews quickly
People will only really leave a negative review when something upset or annoyed them so much that they had to voice their concerns. Thus, the best thing you can do is reply as quickly as possible.
Ideally, within a few hours is the best course of action, however, it’s ok to leave it for a day or two. Any longer than this, and you’re letting the review fester and tarnish your reputation.
If you respond quickly, potential customers will see you’re on top of your game in terms of keeping customers satisfied. It will also speed up coming to a solution with the unhappy customer.
3. Offer an explanation & solution
If you follow the first two tips, then it’s easy to assume you can respond with something like this: “We’re sorry you feel this way and thanks for the feedback.”
However, this does nothing for the customer as you’ve not made any effort to address their problems. The correct approach is offering an explanation for whatever their issue might be.
Explain that things aren’t usually like that, and give a potential reason for their disgruntlement. This is an explanation to other people reading the reviews as well as the customer themselves. As mentioned earlier, it’s almost a way of limiting the damage by showing that it’s an isolated incident.
Along with this, you should offer a solution to make things better.
Ask them to get in touch, and you’ll provide a free refund, or suggest a discount if they choose to return and give you a second chance. Even if they blank you, it shows potential customers/clients that you go the extra mile and value all of your customers.
This can help generate leads as people will give you a chance because they know you’ll look after them if things turn out bad.
4. Make each reply genuine & polite
Never ever set up automated responses to negative reviews. It’s not genuine, and you’ll end up damaging your reputation even more.
To add to this, ensure that all of your responses are polite as well. If you get angry with a customer, then you will just spread the negativity and lose so many existing customers and potential leads!
The main thing to take away from this is that you need to respond to your bad reviews. Don’t leave them to linger and damage your business, write timely and polite responses that offer solutions and address the problem.
It can also be beneficial to reach out to the customer away from the review platform afterward as well. This further improves your reputation as you’re going the extra mile once more.
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