Anonymity and human nature have lead to many unhappy customers taking to the Internet to voice their bad feelings about businesses. An unhappy customer is more likely to post a negative review than is a happy customer to post a happy one. How to respond to a negative online review is a delicate balancing act. You don’t want to delete the comment (if it’s on your social media page) nor do you want to offer a “bribe” to get the customer to change his or her review.

What can you do if you’ve been the target of an unhappy customer who’s left a negative review? We have some ways to combat that so everyone walks away satisfied.

How To Respond To A Negative Online Review

  1.  Acknowledge the customer’s feelings. Rather than saying, “you’re wrong, we didn’t do that!” You want to let them know you understand their frustration and you want to ask how you can work with them to make it right. Don’t dismiss their anger, to them it is valid and real.
  2. Don’t get angry. You need to be respectful of their feelings and you want to try to diffuse a negative situation. That may mean writing, “I’d love to get on the phone with you to resolve this situation” rather than having an escalating conversation in public.
  3. An “I’m sorry” goes a long way. You don’t have to apologize for a perceived slight that perhaps didn’t happen but you can apologize for the customer feeling bad. “I’m sorry you feel this way. What can we do to make it right?” You’re not taking blame, nor are you laying blame.
  4. Never make an excuse. Saying, “We were so busy that night…” is laying blame and making an excuse. A customer doesn’t care how busy you were, they care that they feel slighted and not taken care of. Instead of the phrase above, you can say, “We understand we were slower than usual the night you shopped with us. We’re sorry about that and would love another chance to show you how high quality our service usually is.”
  5. Offer a solution. Don’t give a vague, “We’ll do better next time you’re in.” Instead, “We have implemented new procedures to assure that the situation you encountered will not happen in the future.”
 Don’t forget to ask for another chance. That will be your call to action to the disgruntled customer, make the most of it! How do you and your company respond to bad reviews?

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