They Said What?! 4 Tips for Responding to Negative Reviews

posted this in
Social Media
on July 18th, 2012

You press the power button on your laptop, open your Internet browser and do a quick search for your business. The first thing you see is a negative comment about your business that you know just cannot be true. You think to yourself, “They said what?!”

Perhaps someone was served something nasty at your restaurant or they feel their air conditioner is now making a worse noise than before the technician’s visit. These situations are not uncommon for many businesses.

Before the Internet, unhappy customers would tell ten of their friends about their experiences. And those ten friends would tell another ten friends and before you know it… you are putting out a lot of fires. Now, less-than-satisfied customers have more tools than ever at their disposal for shouting their experiences from the rooftops.

But before you respond to a negative review, remember that not all negative comments are equal. Here are our top four tips for responding to negative reviews.

Tip # 1 – Breathe first. Respond second.

If your hands are still shaking, take a moment to breath before you start typing your response. It is hard not to take each comment about your business personally, but it is important not to be defensive in your response, as this can escalate the situation. To resolve it, you must try and understand the problem from the customer’s perspective while never pointing a finger at them. Keep in mind that many reviewers are just looking for a solution.

Tip # 2 - Respond quickly

Not responding to negative reviews can make a business look like they do not value their customer’s opinions. The faster you respond to a negative situation, the better. Negative reviews spread like a bad epidemic and it is best to shut it down as soon as possible. Unsatisfied customers are also incredibly time sensitive. Letting too much time go by before you repair a situation could mean your customer has written you off for good.

Tip # 3 – Do not be generic

There is nothing worse for an unhappy customer than to feel like they are being placed in the “unhappy customer file” and not really being heard. Customers want to feel like their problem is the most important, whether the issue is big or small. Address your customer by name and tailor your response to their specific problem.

Tip # 4 – Always offer a solution

The only way a situation will ever be repaired is to offer them a viable solution. Customers want to feel like their problem was fixed completely instead of being buried under refunds and free gifts (although those can help, when used correctly). Provide a way for them to get in touch with a real person to discuss the situation in further detail. Give them a real reason to dial your number again.

So the next time you see a negative review online about your business, use these four tips and remember when a bad situation is corrected to the customer’s satisfaction, you can often gain a very loyal customer and brand advocate.

If you are in need of assistance with your online reputation, Rocket Media can help. Contact us today.