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Responding to Negative Reviews

If you have recently received a bad review, you’ve come to the right place. We are going to tell you everything you need to know about responding to negative reviews. First things first, you need to stay calm. Don’t react rashly. It is completely normal to be unsettled by a negative comment or baseless review, but how you react is crucial. As you may know, positive reviews are part of the algorithm that Google uses. The algorithm pulls reviews from multiple places, such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other review platforms. Unfortunately, this means that one grumpy customer can cause your rankings to plummet. Don’t declare a doomsday alert yet, you can still come out on top. 


It is time to initiate damage control in order to save your website’s SEO and reputation. Together we can formulate a plan to respond to negative reviews. Having a plan in place for when you receive a negative review can save you from making some major mistakes. Remember to follow all of the steps listed below before responding to the negative review.


1. Evaluate The Feedback Privately First

Even though the feedback may be harsh or untrue, it is important to evaluate the comment before immediately writing a response. When responding to negative reviews, it can be tempting to snap back at the customer. However, If you react negatively to the customer’s negative review, you will be fueling the fire. Angry customers can hold a lot of power. If you aren’t professional and understanding in your response, it could propel them into further tarnishing your reputation online. It is important to have a level head and procedure planned out before you reply. 

2. Respond Promptly to the Review 

It may be tempting to reach out privately to the unhappy customer, but you should not do this. A public response to a negative review can actually help your business. It shows your customers that you care about their experience. Responding publicly to bad reviews speaks volumes and could potentially help winback the unsatisfied customer. 

3. Acknowledge

Customers wrote their review in the first place because they want to be heard. Hearing out and empathizing with your customers emotions is crucial in formulating a response. Make sure to acknowledge the customer’s complaint in your response. Whether you believe their complaint to be true or not, you need to accept it is how they feel. Choose to acknowledge the negative customer experience, rather than ignore it.


4. Apologize 

No one is perfect, businesses included. It is nearly impossible to please everyone which means you are bound to have unsatisfied customers. The customer’s review could be malicious and mean, but you could be at fault too. You will reveal your brand’s character by how you respond to your mistakes. Most customers don’t expect perfection from your business, but do expect you to take responsibility for wrongdoings. You may be under the false pretense that admitting fault or having a negative review has tanked your business; that is not true. In fact, research shows that a few bad reviews can help build trust. If you only have an abundance of 5 star reviews, customers may think you are hiding something. If you choose to turn your negative review into a learning experience, it can actually boost your business reputation.

5. Offer Solutions

You’ve taken some good first steps in formulating your response by acknowledging the situation and apologizing. If you spent time writing a response, but didn’t provide any solution then you have not properly responded yet. You need to offer a solution to fix the customer’s negative experience. It is vital to make sure you offer to make it right. By giving a solution to the problem, you are showing how responsive you are to customer complaints. Not only will you acknowledge and apologize, but you will make sure to fix the issue. In doing so, you tell potential customers that they will be taken care of even if everything does not go smoothly. It gives you the opportunity to make a loyal customer out of a temporarily unhappy one.

6. Follow Up For an Update 

A customer’s negative experience with your business does not have to be permanent. If you formulated a good response to the review as discussed above, you are already off to a great start. You should be prepared for an in-depth conversation with the customer after initial contact. Throughout this conversation you should try to pinpoint exactly why the customer was dissatisfied and what your shortcomings were. If you feel like you formulated a really good response and had a productive conversation with the customer, ask them if they would be willing to update their review. If you have changed their perception of you, it is likely they would be willing to update their original feedback. Potential customers will see that a negative customer experience was turned into a positive one. Even if they don’t decide to change their review, it shows you put effort into solving the complaint.  


 7. Dilute With More Positive Reviews

Obviously the more positive reviews you have the better, which is especially true for diluting the impact of a negative review. If you only have a few reviews, one of which is negative, it can be very damaging to your business reputation. The key is to have positive reviews coming in consistently over time, that way when you get a negative review, it isn’t the end of the world. It can be difficult to get consistent positive reviews, but Lift Local helps you do this with ease. Lift Local helps customers get consistent positive reviews, so you can focus your efforts elsewhere. 


Bringing Home The Bacon

You should not ignore your customer service until your business is on its last legs! Responding to negative reviews in a timely manner should be at the top of your priority list. All reviews should be important to you, including the fantastic, mediocre and bad ones. Reviews provide you with valuable feedback on how you can improve customer experience. Even though you may feel hurt and blindsided by a bad review, use it as a wake-up call. It can be used as an opportunity to initiate some real improvements.