Negative Reviews – The Tricks of Responding

Negative reviews will happen in life, and there is no way of getting around it.  As Confucius said, Shit Happens.  Humans can’t be 100% on their game every day.  It could even be a customer that is having a rotten day and just took something wrong. On the other side, it could have been that you delivered a lousy product or service. Either way, the next thing you know, they have pulled out the poison pen to let the world know. Usually, a negative review of your business feels like an attack on you personally.

What happens next is what I call the four stages of a negative review.  First, business owners are surprised that someone would say that about them or their business.  The second stage is hurt, which then moves quickly to stage 3 of anger.  The fourth stage is the response.  Depending on the time between the 3rd and 4th stage is directly related to the effectiveness of the response.

Negative reviews will happen in life

The way a business handles negative situations shows the character and integrity of the owner. Three items business owners need to take out of a negative review.

  1. This is the perception of the customer, not yours. The sooner you understand that, the better off you will be.
  2. Use this as a way to assess your process and procedures that lead up to the bad review. Look to see if a change could have prevented this from happening.
  3. Their response is for future customers. This could be the deciding factor on this customer calling you or visiting your business.

Below are some tips on how to respond to different types of negative reviews.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

Please understand the way you respond to negative reviews reflects on the professionalism of the owner/business.  One bad response could cost a business more than not responding at all. Please keep in mind that the person that did the review will get notified of your response.  This is another reason to respond in a professional manner.  Everything you type in that response is for future customers that will read your reviews.  I will guarantee that the bad ones are some of the first ones they will read.

I would suggest you craft your reply outside of Google, Facebook, or wherever the review has been left.  This way, you will not respond to something while you are editing your response.  Have other people read your response. Wait 24 hours to respond to negative reviews, so you are not so emotional when you reply. Time and the backspace key on your keyboard are you, friend, during this trying time.  Here are some suggestions for negative reviews.

Don’t Be Defensive

Most owners feel hurt by a negative review, and they let it show in their response. This type of response comes across badly to potential customers.  It could be taken that a business is not willing to take responsibility. 

Don’t Be Offensive

Again, remember you are representing the business, so don’t start by cursing, calling them names, or threatening a lawyer.  If need be just keep repeating “Sticks and Stones” over and over again. It may make you feel better, but I assure you it will cost you later for your little rant.

Turn a Negative Review into a Positive Review

Some of the best reviews I have seen have been negative reviews that have been responded to by the business owners.  They did so in a way to show that they cared about the problem.  They were sincere about what was needed to resolve the issue.  The last thing they did was they apologized for the problem.  Not that you want a negative review, but when future customers see this type of response, it is pure gold.