As you are scrolling through your company’s reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook, you see lots of five-star reviews from your very satisfied customers. Then, all of a sudden, you stumble across a 1-star review from a disgruntled customer.
Does this scenario sound familiar? When you come across a negative review online, how should you respond?
We’ve put together a handy guide to reference the next time you receive a review from an unhappy customer.
Thank for the customer for providing feedback and acknowledge the issue.
Bill Gates once said: “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” Viewing negative reviews as a learning opportunity for your business will help you approach bad reviews with a more positive, growth-oriented attitude. You can start your reply to a bad review with something like this: ‘Thank you for sharing your feedback and letting us know about this issue.’
Provide a sincere apology.
After you acknowledge the customer’s problem, offering a non-defensive apology will help you appease the irate customer. Also, by providing a genuine apology, you show potential customers that you truly care about providing a positive experience for your customers. Here’s an example of an apology: ‘We are incredibly sorry that our facility maintenance crew left before properly cleaning up the worksite. We set a very high standard for ourselves, and this level of service is unacceptable.’
Offer a brief explanation and explain how your company will avoid the same mistake in the future.
If the issue is more complex, you may want to provide the negative reviewer with a quick explanation, as well as your plan to avoid the same mistake again in the future. As you write your response, remember to not only clarify why the issue occurred but also take responsibility for the mistake. An example response could be: ‘Our project site lead had to leave in the middle of the day for a family emergency, and the crew didn’t follow the end-of-day protocol for cleaning up the worksite. We are very sorry for the inconvenience, and we are providing additional training for our team to ensure this doesn’t happen again.’
If necessary, provide some type of compensation for the mistake.
If your mistake has caused the reviewer a significant amount of loss in the form of money or their time, you can consider offering them a small form of compensation, or an incentive to return to you again. For example, you could reply with: ‘To apologize for your inconvenience, we are offering you 25% off your next facility cleaning.’
Invite the author of the negative review to continue the conversation offline.
After receiving a negative online review, we recommend providing the reviewer with an option to continue the discussion online. It will likely be easier for you to resolve their problems over the phone or over email rather than continue to reply back-and-forth on Google Reviews or Yelps. At the end of your reply, you can add something like this: ‘We want to make sure we fully resolve this issue. You can reach me personally via 111-111-1111 or over email at firstname.lastname@example.org’.
Given the statistics that 91% of people often read online reviews and 84% of people trust reviews online as much as recommendations from friends and family, how you respond to bad reviews can affect how potential customers perceive your company.
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