Afraid of Negative Reviews? Three Tips to Responding to Less Than Flattering Online Reviews for Your Business

From time to time, no matter how hard you try, you are going to get negative reviews online. You just cannot please everybody all the time. When this happens, how should you respond? The first thing to keep in mind is that you definitely should respond. Ignoring the situation will only make matters worse because people will read the review, without a response, and it will color their opinion of your company.

Studies have found that when companies respond to reviews, their ratings go up. Here is the best way to do it.

How Should You Respond to Reviews Online – Especially Negative Ones?

1. Apologize

But we did nothing wrong! In this situation, that doesn’t matter. The fact is that a customer had what he or she considers a bad experience with your company, whether your fault or not. This has to do with how the person feels, and it is a fool’s errand to try and talk them out of it.

It also doesn’t present a good image of your company if you don’t seem to take the person’s complaint seriously. The best course of action is to simply apologize. You don’t have to admit guilt, and you can even work in some positive language. You can say you are sorry if the person does not feel they received good service, or something to that effect, especially since your company prides itself on its exceptional service.

From a public relations standpoint, an apology will carry the best impression.

2. Be brief

Three or four lines in response should be enough. If you attempt to give some expansive explanation and rebuttal, you will simply look defensive, and it may make it appear that there just might be some truth to the complaint. Remember the line from Shakespeare, “Methinks thou protest too much.”

Giving a lengthy response could also backfire, getting the person even more riled up and inciting them to spew even more vitriol online.

3. Talk with the person privately (or demonstrate that you’ve tried)

In the response, tell the person that you would like to make things right, and list the name of a company representative along with a phone number. This takes the transaction off the Internet and out of public view, where you can take the time to have a discussion with the person and get to the root of the problem. It also shows how seriously you value your customers.

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