Survey: Don’t Ignore Negative Reviews
We asked our B2B provider partners what their best advice would be when responding to negative reviews, and once again, they delivered with some incredible wisdom.
Responding to reviews—along with the art of doing so—is a top priority that we preach at UpCity. Reviews from your customers can be either a great opportunity for showing off the rapport your business has with its customers or an opportunity to gain critical feedback on what your company can do to improve.
While receiving negative feedback isn’t the greatest feeling in the world, responding to these reviews is an opportunity to not just redeem yourself, but resolve a conflict with a customer and leave the working relationship on good terms. It also showcases to potential buyers that you’re listening to customers and taking everyone’s feedback seriously—the good and the bad.
Why is that important to show a potential customer? Because it demonstrates that you truly care about the customer and want them to get the best service possible. And that while you’re running a business, it isn’t just about making a sale at the end of the day for you and your staff. You’re in this to help them achieve their goals; their success is your success.
A simple response to a negative review says a lot more than just the words in your reply, and it speaks to more than just the customer you’re responding to. In fact, when we surveyed many of our current partners, 97% agreed that it’s important to respond to negative reviews.
We also got some great advice on how to respond to negative reviews. Here’s a selection of some of our favorite survey responses regarding why it’s important to address negative reviews:
Commitment to the Customer
“Responding to negative reviews shows that you take customer feedback seriously, are responsive, and willing to correct mistakes. Often, the most loyal customers began as the loudest critics.”
“People read all reviews, especially new potential customers. Reply to negative reviews in a professional and polite manner to show that you are looking to solve the customer’s issue whether their issue is true or false in the first place.”
“It’s a reputational imperative to respond to criticism. The action shows responsibility to customers and manages the record. Read and reply to every review.”
“Whether a review is negative or positive, it’s important to respond as to show your commitment to customer satisfaction. Ensuring you respond to negative reviews also helps to protect the reputation of your business, improves SEO efforts, and can even attract new potential clients. By responding to negative reviews, you show that your business is transparent, open, and values the concerns of your customers.”
“We always recommend responding to negative and positive reviews online. This illustrates to others that you are engaged as a business owner and it allows you to get the ‘last word in,’ if you will… A well-crafted response can really turn a negative situation into a positive one!”
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Crafting A Thoughtful Response
“Make sure you respond to negative reviews. Thank the reviewer for the feedback. If the complaint is valid, offer a compensation of some sort to the reviewer. If there is a difference of opinion, Do NOT offer a full-on defense online but invite them to contact you offline to discuss the situation. If the review is fraudulent (this can happen sometimes, such as when someone leaves a review who has had no contact whatsoever with your business), politely let them know.”
“Maintain a professional demeanor and respond politely. Professionalism goes a long way in dealing with a negative review. Address the complaint in a timely manner and thank the person for leaving a reply. Sympathize with the person and take responsibility. Offer a way to make it right and ask to talk with the person offline. When handled correctly, the professionalism used in handling these situations goes a long way. In the end, a potential client or customer will see excellent customer service in the way you reply and it will contradict the negative review itself. Allow the integrity and character of your company to shine through the way you reply. Work to resolve their issue while maintaining your online reputation.”
“Sharing honest feedback to negative reviews is important for many reasons. So after you hit the roof, put your fist through the wall or, get on your roof and scream from the top of your lungs, look at this as an opportunity to grow. Here are 5 things that we share with our clients about why it’s important to respond to negative reviews.
1. STATE THE FACTS. As hard as it might be to be unemotional about this, go into this response with a clear head and an open heart. Just state the facts of what happened. Don’t editorialize and don’t be biased.
2. APOLOGIZE IF NECESSARY. Be willing to own that your company might have made a mistake.
3. TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SHINE. This is a great way for people who are interested in doing business with you to see how you handle conflict.
4. BE VULNERABLE. Authenticity is king when it comes to online opportunities to show up. People want to do business with honest, awesome people.
5. RESPOND. Take a breath, gather your thoughts, and even write it a few times if necessary.”
Professionalism And Your Online Reputation
“In our experience, a business owner’s response, not the negative review, has more power to influence a potential customer’s decision to contact the business. The first rule is not to be defensive. Rude or argumentative responses are a big turn-off and can scare new customers away. An easy way to show your professionalism and to disarm the reviewer is to thank them for sharing their experience and acknowledge their feedback, remembering that you don’t have to agree to acknowledge. Provide a friendly, detailed explanation of what happened and own any mistakes your company may have made. Always provide a resolution which could be as simple as letting the customer know you will personally contact them to discuss the situation. Following this simple review response template shows potential customers that you care, are responsive, and are committed to providing a great experience.”
“No one likes to receive negative reviews. It’s important that you respond to negative reviews promptly, because other potential customers may see that review. First, if the review upsets you, take a deep breath, walk away from the computer, and calm down a little. Never write a response to a bad review when you’re angry or upset. Next, respond compassionately. Remember, everyone who reads your response will be judging you as the business owner–so you must be polite. You can tell the person something like, “We’re sorry about your experience with us. We truly try to offer 5-star customer service to everyone. Please give me a call and I’d be happy to discuss the issues you had with you. Thank you for your input.” If you’re not sure if your response is “calm” enough, ask a friend or trusted impartial person to read your response before you send it. Reviews are not only a ranking factor but they are trusted by consumers to help make decisions on what company they are going to use. Replying to both positive and negative online reviews is very important. Plus, you can use negative reviews as feedback on how you can improve your business, too.”
“First, thank the reviewer for leaving an honest review. This puts you in a position of power since you are immediately killing them with kindness. Second, people want to feel listened to and heard, so it’s important that you let an unhappy customer know that you hear them and understand why they are upset. This is not an admission of wrongdoing on your part. You’re simply acknowledging that they had a poor experience. For example, you could write, “Hi Jane, thank you for your review and I apologize that we could not accommodate your request. My team and I understand that this was a frustrating experience. Third, end on a positive note. You can do this by finding a solution to their problem, by offering a way to make up for the poor experience they had, or by simply wishing them well if you had already done your best to find a solution for them prior to the review. For example, you could write, “I’ve reached out to our team to see if there is anything that can be done for you regarding a refund or new appointment.” If you’ve already tried to rectify the situation prior to their review, you could try, “We hope you will give us another chance in the future—please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you, Jane.”
How To Handle The Fakes
“Address all negative comments. Invite the reviewer to get in touch with you outside of the public comments via email. I have previously come across negative comments that have been made up. In this case, the best thing to do is respond in a way that makes it clear to the reader that it’s been made up. For example, ‘We have no record of having ever worked with you, but please get in touch so we can resolve this matter’.”
Additional Food For Thought
“It’s important to accept responsibility and always offer help and a way to make things right. Even if the person doesn’t respond, other customers see that you care.”
“The key is to not evaluate the customer in the review response. They are evaluating you and your company (as is their right). Your goal is to reinforce your belief system of how to serve customers.”
“A negative experience with your business may not seem like a big deal, but it’s an opportunity to show how much you truly value each customer. Sometimes, a response from the owner can clear up miscommunication and even get a person to change their review. This is usually rare, but it does happen. The best way to respond to a negative review is to acknowledge their feedback, issue an apology if needed, and then offer a way for the customer to contact you directly.”
“Try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. How would you feel if you experienced this issue yourself? What kind of resolution would you like to see? What would make you feel better?”
“Future readers also want to see [a response]. I know people that make buying decisions on HOW a negative review was answered.”
“Remember that this exchange is happening in front of all of your new potential customers. Treat the reviewer like a real person and with kindness and respect and your business will reap the benefits.”
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