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25 Tips for Responding to Negative Customer Reviews Online

25 Tips for Responding to Negative Customer Reviews Online

March 19, 2020

It is very important for any business to have an online presence to reach a global audience in less time. By creating an SEO-friendly website, you can not only ensure your wide reach but also gain high search engine rankings. This will help you grab more organic traffic on your website and improve your brand awareness. When we talk about digital marketing, social media holds the key as more than half of the world’s population is present there. With exposure to such a huge audience, it is likely that you will experience both negative and positive responses. 

We must say that the online platform is un-bias and you will receive genuine responses from the customers. It is always good to be praised by people and if it is in front of a large number of people, the value gets doubled. But on the other hand, if you experience any negative reviews online, everyone connected will see them and it might downgrade the reputation of your company. 

For any business, it is important to give a response to negative comments as ignoring them might create havoc. For that, you must know how to give replies to customers who are not satisfied or have faced any unwanted situation. 

Tips to handle negative customers online effectively

The key to maintaining a good client base is to give satisfactory replies to customer responses, doesn’t matter whether it is a positive or negative response. But when there is a negative response, the importance of reply increases. Here are the tips that’ll help you handle those unwanted responses effectively:

  • Quick response is the key

An angry or unsatisfied customer wastes no time in sharing his/her experience with the company as well as other customers. Thus, being a responsible company, it is your duty to give replies to negative comments as soon as possible. Answering quickly will limit the damage caused to your brand. 

  • Reply smartly

It should not be the case that in an attempt to give a quick reply, you are answering anything. You must make sure that whatever you are replying to should be relevant to the customer. It is always important to appreciate the customer for his/her true response regarding the experience. This will not only make customers calm but also hold the position of your company strong. 

  • Honesty is the best policy

Fair replies to negative responses are always the best. If there is an issue in your product and it is faced by the customers, then it is your duty to accept that and reply accordingly. Consumers always look for genuine responses to a problem that is actually there. People know that nothing is perfect and being addressed humbly will change their perception of your brand positively. 

  • Always adopt a professional approach

If there are no customers, no business will be there. It is likely that some people become too ferocious after having a bad experience and they might write something against your brand that is unacceptable. But being a business, you must maintain kind and polite behavior as this will reflect a good image of your company even after having some fault in your product/service. Answering in the same tone as customers will make you lose more of your clients along with the one who has commented. 

  • Respond individually

Being heard is what a customer wants. Thus, it is important to give a relevant response to the customer for the problem faced. Even if you experience that two of your customers have faced the same issue, you must give custom responses to both of them. This will ensure customers that they are personally being attended and it will be really helpful in maintaining a good brand image. 

  • Avoid being personal

All businesses experience varieties of clients and all of them are important. There might be the case that you see a negative review posted by a client but that review is irrelevant. Do not lose your temper in such a situation and try to respond smartly. Never sound personal or arguing, always be humble and positive. 

  • Move offline

The online platform is open to all and anyone can see what people are talking about your brand and how they are reacting. So, one of the best ways to handle negative responses is to take them offline. This will help you get into the details of the problems faced by your clients and respond correctly. The logical way to do this is by asking the contact info of the customer and the best time when they are available. Don’t forget to apologize for the inconvenience caused. 

  • Appreciate the customer’s effort

Not everyone makes efforts to scorn what they experience, be it a positive one or negative. This makes each and every client response a gem for a business and it should be handled seriously. Negative responses are not a bad dream rather they are good for a company if looked properly. By knowing the pain points faced by the customers, you will be able to improve your product or service for a better experience in the future. This will only improve the reputation of your business. Thus, be thankful for the customer reviews (both bad and good ones) and appreciate their effort in posting them.  

  • Empathy is better than sympathy

Gone are the days of sympathy and no customer wants it for the problem faced. To make a customer believe that his/her complaint is being taken seriously, you need to show empathy. Sorry has become a plain word, but when you add something like “we know how it feels to face such an issue and we’ll take appropriate measures to rectify that”, it adds value to your apology. In this way, you show that the issue is being taken on a serious note and that will increase the chances of customer retention. 

  • Take the right measure to rectify the issue

It’s not only that you just have to give responses online to show that customers are being heard. You are also required to take appropriate actions regarding the issues faced by your customers and you need to show it to them. This will build trust and improve the image of the company. You can also share the impact of the feedback given by customers on your business to encourage them to post genuine reviews. 

  • Do compensate, if necessary

Some of the issues are there in every business, but it is important to ensure customer engagement and make them feel special. If you see a customer facing a major issue because of your product or service, you must compensate him/her to ensure retention. The importance of compensation increases for repeat customers than one-time shoppers. For example, if you own a pizza company and one of your regular customers responded for the very late delivery, then along with the apology, you can offer coupon codes or free sides for the next order. This will ensure that you are really sorry for the inconvenience caused. 

  • Follow up is necessary

Once you have addressed the issue mentioned online and made it right, you must ask the customer for the feedback afterward. Following up will make sure that the problem is now being solved and the customers are happy with the company’s response. This will add value to your business. 

  • Convert bad into good

After taking the appropriate action and ensuring that your customers are now happy, you can request them to respond positively. A negative response that has turned to a positive one holds much more value than the one which is posted by the customers. Once you see that the customer is satisfied with your response to his/her query, you can request them to reconsider the negative review and post a new one with the current experience. 

  • Encourage more positive reviews

Both bad and good responses go hand in hand and it is important for any business to encourage their customers to share about the experience they have with your company. The balance between positive and negative reviews is a must, but don’t forget the value positive one holds for your business. To get more reviews, you can also give replies to the responses to encourage customers. 

  • Prepare standard review responses

You never know when an unhappy customer will show anger online regarding your product or service and put your reputation at stake. It is also important to respond in time to make sure that the customer is not feeling ignored. Thus, having templates for review responses will make your work easier and ensure a good image of the company in terms of addressing queries. Don’t forget to use a customized message along with these prepared templates. 

  • Be brief

Not everyone is the same and all have their own perception, thus, it is not a guarantee that a customer will see your detailed response in the same way as you want him/her to. The best action for online response is to be brief, apologize for the problem faced, and request the customer to contact you privately. 

  • Check for the legitimacy

There might be the chances that on social media or any other platform, the reviews are either posted by spammers or they might not be for you. It is not easy to tell whether a review is a spam or not but if it is for any other businesses of a similar name as yours, you can easily identify it by reading the review. In such a case, all you need to do is politely answer that review stating your point. 

  • Accept the issue

A good business will always own the problem faced by customers irrespective of the fact that it is rare or common. Accepting the issue should be your first objective while addressing it. Only when you learn to accept, you will be able to respond relevantly. If the problem is rare then you can assist the customer in solving it and explain to him/her how others will not face the same problem in the future. 

  • Make sure that fake reviews are removed

It is also possible that any of your previous unhappy customers might have posted a bad review for your company. This can also be done by your competitors just to drop down your reputation in front of people. Thus, it is important for you to identify the fake reviews and request them to be removed from the review section. 

  • Be proactive

Social media has become an important platform for all businesses to gain success and create a good clientele base. But positives also accompany negatives and those who search for products or services online also post their queries regarding a specific product or service. So, it is likely that unsatisfied customers will post negative reviews on social media. Being active on review sites & social media will help you identify the issues faced by your customers early and contact them in-person to solve them.

  • Start with an apology

Owning a business means you are serving the customers and it is your duty to serve them with what you have promised. If any of your customers are facing a problem, you must take it seriously. While responding to negative reviews online, apology always holds the key. It is better to always start your reply with an apology to show the concern regarding the issue faced by the client. 

  • Get your response reviewed

Before the customer read your response, you must get it reviewed by your colleagues before posting to make sure that it sounds decent. This is important to keep your tone right and not make things worse. 

  • Look for opportunity

It might sound strange but, this is true that those who are posting negative reviews are actually helping your business out in making it better. With the help of negative comments regarding your product or service, you will be able to identify weaknesses. Thus, you can make them right in time and ensure a better experience for your future customers. 

  • Respond to credible reviews

It is not necessary to respond to all the reviews posted by customers as there might be some without a valid reason. Before responding, you must determine the credibility first. For example, giving a negative review to a hotel because of its location is inappropriate as it is already mentioned on their website. 

  • Outsource the task

If it is not possible for you to respond to the reviews in time, then it will be best to outsource this service. Find a suitable company that can respond to the customers on your behalf in the most effective manner. This is of high importance as ignoring or delaying responses, especially negative ones, might cause big damage to your company’s reputation.

These 25 tips might help you out in responding to negative customer reviews online in the most ethical way possible. Every customer is important and you must do everything possible to retain them. Getting negative reviews does not matter, what matters is how you tackle them and solve customer queries. So, you must properly read the issue and analyze how you can solve it and then give a reply. 

What is the REST model of responding to negative reviews?

REST model is the quickest and shortest way to understand the right process of answering to negative responses. 

  • Respond quickly

Giving a quick and relevant response to negative comments is very important. 

  • Eliminate emotions

Professionalism should always be there in whatever approach you take to handle the issue. Even if it is not your mistake, do respond politely. 

  • Say Sorry

Apologize for the problem faced by the client. ‘Sorry’ should always be on the cards while addressing a negative review.

  • Take it offline

If you analyze that it is not possible to satisfy the customer publicly, you must take him/her offline by requesting DM. 

This ‘REST’ strategy works for a maximum number of times and helps businesses retain their customers even if they are very angry. 

The Bottom Line

The first and foremost thing that every business must know is that ‘customer is always right’ and this should be the approach while handling any review. Customers are the key to the success of any business and it is important to keep them happy. The goal of all companies is to ensure the complete satisfaction of their clients and assist them wherever possible. If a customer is not satisfied, he/she will try to contact the service provider and the simplest way to connect is the online platform. 

All businesses experience mixed responses from customers and they all look for quick responses, especially unsatisfied ones. So, companies must take care while responding to negative responses and consider these above-mentioned tips to put the best foot forward and ensure that you’ll be able to gain the satisfaction of annoyed customers again.

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