How to respond to online negative reviews

How To Respond To Negative Reviews

Online forums, especially websites and social media platforms, have made customer interaction with brands a whole lot easier. Both, giving and receiving reviews through Facebook, Instagram, Google, and such forums have become a one-click process. This is a significant step forward in how businesses work in the digital world today, but it also has its downsides. 

Even though online reviews have made it easier for loyal customers to express their positive feedback, it has also brought brands to a face-to-face level with their critics. Receiving reviews – be it negative or positive, has a huge impact on running a business. While positive reviews are clearly something we look forward to seeing and responding to, we often avoid responding to the negative reviews we receive. And that is definitely not the right way to react to a negative review.

As a business owner, it is time to accept that all businesses make mistakes, which can lead to negative reviews online. In fact, most of the time, negative reviews are not even because of your mistake – they can be unfair and even off-point. But the way you respond to those reviews can completely change the whole dynamic of the situation.


The Importance of Responding to Reviews

In a nutshell, branding is a marketing practice or process of creating a positive, strong perception and actively shaping a brand and its products in the consumer's mind. Theoretically, it sounds simple, but there's so much that goes into it.

Neglecting reviews and avoiding responding to them – especially if they are negative comments, is a common practice by numerous brands. Hence, we decided that before we begin explaining to you how to respond to negative reviews, we must first tell you why it is important for you to respond to reviews – whether negative or positive.

  • An Opportunity to Interact with your Customers

Customer interaction is among the most critical things that help a brand grow. In today's world, brands are looking for various ways how they can interact and communicate with their customers. Online reviews are an opportunity through which you can do that. 

  • Build a Trusting Relationship

Apart from interaction, it is also a way to build a trusting relationship with your potential customers. Consumers tend to trust active companies and respond on their social media and online platforms. Companies who ignore reviews come off as shady; hence, to build a trusting relationship with your customers, you must be responsive to their comments, 

  • Improves your SEO and Google Ranking

According to Google’s support page, responding to online reviews and interacting with customers can help improve your company’s local SEO. This, in turn, helps your company rank higher on Google and appear in the top three spots in local map searches. This is because Google only recommends the most credible websites on its search engine – and responding to reviews enhances your company’s credibility online. 

  • Can Change a Negative Review to a Positive

Responding to a negative review can help change it into a positive one. This is simple human psychology – most customers send negative reviews when they are angry and annoyed. But getting a positive response from the company can help calm them down and even understand your end of the story.

Tactfully Responding to Negative Reviews in a Positive Way

Right thumb pointing down, left thumb pointing upNow coming to how to respond to a negative review in a positive way. While we have already established that responding to reviews is important, we need to understand how to tackle negative reviews; here are a  few pointers to help you with it.

  1. Respond as Quickly as Possible

We often tend to avoid negative reviews – as if by neglecting them, they will stop existing. But since that's not going to happen, what we can do is resolve them as soon as possible. This is important to help calm down a furious customer. Responding late to a negative review will only build up more negativity in the reviewer's mind regarding your brand, and they are likely to be put off. Treat your negative reviews as a priority instead of an afterthought. 

  1. Acknowledge Their Complaint 

Most often, brands receive negative reviews even when it is not their mistake – but getting defensive because of this is not smart. Before you start explaining your point of view, it is best first to acknowledge their complaint. This lets customers think they are being heard and are valued by the brand. 

Moreover, when you show your willingness to listen to the customer, it changes their perception of your brand and makes them more susceptible to listening to you. This also helps people see your brand ethics and value through your business practices. 

  1. Apologize, Even When You are Right 

It is natural to feel angry when someone complains about your work – something you have worked hard towards. But if you let your anger show through your response to your customers, you are likely to lose them. Ever heard of the phrase, "customer is king"? Sounds old-fashioned, we know. But sometimes, it is what it is. 

Start your response with an apology, even if you are going to deny their complaint – just let them know you are sorry for causing them any sort of inconvenience. This is a great way to empathize with your customers and tell them they are valued. 

  1. Take Responsibility and Make it Better. 

Lastly, take responsibility for whatever has caused your customers a problem. Taking responsibility doesn't mean you have to accept you are wrong when you are not. It means you understand the concerns of your customer and are willing to make the situation better for them.

This tells your customers they are not being abandoned by a brand they trusted and shopped from. Instead, it shows the brand cares about its customers and is eager to build a relationship with them. One helpful trick brands use at this point is offering compensation, gift vouchers, refunds, and discounts to make their experience better and encourage them to shop with you again – regaining their trust in your company.

Managing Negative Reviews

Managing negative reviews, especially to gain customer trust and loyalty, is very important. For brands working with a bigger audience, it is advised for a proper review system to make this process smoother. You can also form a dedicated team with several people to only look into reviews and deal with customer interaction. 

Receiving negative reviews can be demotivating and very off-putting – but don't let it get to you. Negative criticism is a part of your growth journey, and you can always learn and come out better through them. Deal with negative reviews with positive insight for a successful business! 

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