How To Handle Negative Reviews
No one wants—or expects— a negative review, but it’s inevitable that your business or product will eventually receive one. There’s simply no way to completely satisfy every single customer. But what do you do about it? Should you remove a bad review? Respond to it? Ignore it?
The most important thing to realize is that a negative review (or two or three) is not the end of the world. In fact, there are a lot of positive things that can come out of it, including customer loyalty and trust.
You may be wondering how you can possibly gain those positive things from a bad review. That’s exactly what we’re here to explain.
You don’t have to fear negative reviews. You just need to know how to handle them—and how to avoid more in the future.
Here is a rundown of our best advice on handling bad reviews, as well as why you shouldn’t necessarily remove them.
It’s natural to take a negative review personally and become irritated. After all, you’ve put a lot of work into your business and you believe in it. Why wouldn’t everyone else?
The first thing you need to do is take a deep breath and step away from the computer to compose yourself. You certainly don’t want to respond to the review in a spirit of anger. Pause for a few minutes to think through the steps you need to take in order to handle the negative review in a professional manner.
Don’t Remove the Bad Review
Believe it or not, leaving a bad review up can be a good thing. You are showing transparency to your customers, which creates trust. A business that only has 5-star reviews can cause a red flag with customers. There is no such thing as a perfect business or a perfect product that satisfies everyone. Customers will begin to question the legitimacy of the reviews if they are only 5-star reviews.
In addition, if you remove negative feedback, you are basically telling the disgruntled consumer that you don’t value their business. This will only lead to more frustration on the part of the customer—and possible more bad reviews.
While the bad review itself will not help your business, the way in which you handle it can go a long way in creating trust with not only the disgruntled customer but also with any other customer or prospect who reads your response.
While it’s important to take some time to check your emotions, you don’t want to take too much time. The key to handling negative reviews is to respond to them as soon as you can—and at least within 24 hours.
You want to show the disgruntled customer that you care about the situation and that you are ready to address it right away.
According to BrightLocal, 97% of customers who read reviews actually read the businesses’ responses to reviews. That pretty much sums up how important it is for you to respond.
Make Your Response Public
Make sure that your response to the bad review is public so that other customers and prospects can read it. Your audience is watching to see how you handle the situation, so now is the time to show off your amazing customer service. By publishing both the bad review and your response, you are also showing customers that you have nothing to hide.
Keep Your Response Short
Don’t get too wordy. Keep in mind that the customer is already unhappy and will likely not take the time to read a lengthy response from you. The most important thing is to show your empathy and to address the situation in a clear, concise manner.
Apologize (Even if You Are Not at Fault) and Rectify
The customer is always right. It’s the oldest rule in business. Your job is to apologize for whatever caused the customer’s dissatisfaction and then rectify the situation—even if the issue is not your fault. If you can resolve things efficiently and politely, there is a good chance that you can turn an unhappy customer into a loyal customer. You are showing that you care about the customer and their experience, and that goes a long way in building trust.
Once you have resolved the issue, be sure to follow up with the customer at a later date to ensure that they are happy. The follow-up is important in showing your commitment to creating a positive experience for the customer.
Learn From the Experience
A negative review offers an opportunity for you to improve your business or product. What better way to know exactly what your customers don’t like? Then you can fix those core issues so that they don’t happen again.
The Bottom Line
When utilizing these steps to handle a negative review, it is possible to turn a bad situation into something positive for both the customer and your business. There’s a good reason that the customer took the time to leave the review, which means you still have a chance to repair the broken relationship. The way in which you handle the review says a lot about your business and can determine future customer loyalty and satisfaction.
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