10 Tips for Responding to a Negative Online Review

Unfortunately for business owners, human behavior has shown that people are far more likely to post an online review when they have had a negative experience, as opposed to doing so when they have had an extremely positive one. Even if your customer service is exemplary, you are always at risk of receiving a negative review. If you do get one, it’s not the end of the world, especially if you respond to it correctly.

Depending on the review website, you will have the option to respond both publicly (for all future visitors to see) and privately (directly to the client who posted the review). When given the opportunity, I would recommend that you respond privately in almost all scenarios. When responding publicly you’ll need to be a little more selective. Some negative reviews do not warrant a response, or are very difficult to respond to in general. If you decide a response is warranted, here are a few keys to consider when writing your response:

  1. Know your audience: Your audience is future viewers and potential clients, not the unhappy patron that wrote the review!

  1. Respond quickly: This will show that you are on top of things, and that your business’ reputation matters to you.

  2. Never go on the offensive: Take a step back, approach the review objectively and write a sincere reply with a cool head. If it turns into an online argument your reputation could be damaged even further.

  3. Thank them for their feedback: Take it as constructive criticism, and let everyone know that you are always striving to improve your customer service.

  4. Be apologetic: Remember the customer is always right, especially in the eyes of customers that read the review in the future.

  5. Accept responsibility: Most consumers want to know that you are willing to take ownership and react to their complaints. Future viewers will almost certainly appreciate that you have acknowledged the problem.

  6. Learn from the review: Let them know how you will improve based on their comments. Also, make sure you can uphold any promises you make.

  7. Let future customers know how to avoid similar problems in the future: Give future clients a way to avoid that situation, and a way to contact you personally (if possible).

  8. Keep it short and sweet: Don’t write a book here folks, future customers will be overwhelmed and less likely to read it.

  9. Don’t ignore the negative review, it wont go away on its own: Addressing the situation may not be the easiest course of action, but it will pay dividends in the long run.

 If you are a Next Ad Agency client, remember you are not alone in this. You have an account management team that is trained in responding to negative reviews. We have a lot of experience in lessening the impact of negative reviews, and helping you craft a response that will accomplish all of the points outlined above. We also will check the review for “terms of use violations” to see if we can suggest its removal all together. Most importantly, we facilitate and promote the positive reviews that tell the real side of the story, and show how most people perceive your business!

Tom Doran

Account Manager

Next Ad Agency

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