As a company, generating positive online reviews is a great way to drum up business and showcase the value of your services.
But not all the reviews you get will be positive. When the time comes, you need to know how to respond to those not-so-savory reviews, so you can maintain your reputation.
Here are 5 steps you can take when responding to negative reviews online.
Five Steps to Writing a Successful Negative Review Response
- Evaluate internally
Before responding to a negative review, it’s first important to evaluate its validity. Discuss it with your colleagues: Does it contain any constructive criticism that may help you improve your business practices? Is there anything you could have done differently to change that person’s experience? Even if the reviewer has embellished some aspects of their review, there might be a kernel of truth that could help you improve your business.
By developing an internal evaluation procedure, you’ll be able to approach such reviews with a clear mind and a cooler head. It’ll stop you from posting whatever first pops into your mind. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on the potentially valid criticism a reviewer might have and respond to it appropriately.
As enticing as it might be, don’t start by reaching out to a reviewer privately. Other viewers need to see that you are addressing such reviews so that they understand you’re trying to redress the problem. Ultimately, it’s best just to respond to the negative review directly on your Google My Business page.
Accessing Your Google My Business Reviews:
- Go to google.comand sign in to Google My Business.
- Click on the three horizontal bars in the top left-hand corner of the page.
- When you find a review you want to respond to, click “View and reply” (or “Respond now” if on a mobile device).
Customers can tell when your response is half-hearted. If all you post is fluff without substance, they’ll take notice. Worse still, they might think you don’t care about your business.
Show reviewers that you care. Address them by name, thank them for their review, and if possible, highlight something positive they mentioned about your business. If necessary, apologize when you could have done something to improve their experience.
- Offer solutions
It’s important to offer customers a solution to their problem. We’re not saying you have to bend over backward with discounts and full refunds, but you should provide them with something that’s actionable. At the very least, give them the opportunity to reach out to you personally and address their grievances one-on-one.
- Move the conversation offline
When you’re offering solutions that require further discussion, it’s best to move the conversation offline. Leave the customer your contact information and let them get back to you. With the ball in their court, you’ve done everything that you can—at least for the time being.
Tips for Wording Your Review Response
Now that we’ve covered the steps you should take when your business receives a negative review, let’s go over some tips to make your response as effective as possible.
It pays to formulate a well-thought-out reply. Just responding to a negative review isn’t enough. You have to say something meaningful to resolve the conflict.
By adhering to the following guidelines, you can avoid fanning the flames and ensure future customers are willing to give your business a chance.
Personalize Your Reply
After having a negative experience with a company, the last thing that someone wants is to be brushed off or treated like a cog in the wheel. By taking the time to address your customer by name, instead of using generic replies such as “dear customer,” you can make your response feel more sincere.
Remember Your Industry
A response that someone would expect from a restaurant is different from what they’d expect from a contractor, so you should always keep your industry in mind when responding.
Think about why that person came to your business in the first place and put yourself in the shoes of potential customers who might be swayed by the way you respond. It also helps to research successful businesses in your field to see how they deal with negative comments and then basing your approach on this.
A Little Grammar Goes a Long Way
By making an effort to proofread your reply before posting it, you can avoid grammatical mistakes or oversights. A well-structured response will reinforce that you are a professional business owner who gives full attention to their customers. Keep it personal, but keep it professional.
Although offering your sympathies is important when responding to negative reviews, don’t be too aplogetic. It can come off as unprofessional, as if you’re grovelling to claw back that customer. Keep your apologies brief and instead focus on your commitment to excellent service and the steps you will take to make things right.
Follow the Trends
When all else fails, a good strategy for responding is to follow what is effective for other businesses. Utilize what has proven worthwhile for successful companies and structure your reply around the most common topics.
In descending order, here’s what’s most often done in review responses:
- Thank the reviewer for their feedback
- Focus on customer service
- Encourage the reviewer to contact directly
- Discuss the customer experience
- Inviting them to return
By The Numbers: The Importance of Responding to Reviews
45% of consumers say they are more likely to visit a business if they respond to negative reviews.
That figure just goes to show you how essential responding to negative reviews can be. If you ignore the feedback you receive, you could be leaving money on the table. Up to 45% of it.
By taking a few minutes to address your negative reviews in a timely manner, you can show that you truly care about providing your customers with a first-rate experience.
Need Help Managing Your Online Reputation? LinkNow to the Rescue!
Negative reviews can be intimidating—we know. Fortunately, we’re here to help.
If you would like some professional assistance with managing your business on Google, consider getting in touch with the specialists at LinkNow Media. Reach us at 1.888.667.7186 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about what we offer.