As a business owner, no matter how much you might be striving for perfection, you will inevitably run into a bad review. When that happens, it’s important to address the concerns and respond to negative reviews.

While responding to negative reviews is not fun, ignoring them can have even more disastrous consequences. According to research, 89% of consumers read responses to reviews. If a person that left a negative review sees that you’re ignoring the review, they will most likely never do business with you again. 

In this post, we’ll explain why it’s important to respond to negative reviews and share tips and examples for addressing negative reviews. 

Why You Should Respond to Negative Reviews

Responding to negative reviews is an opportunity to maintain and defend your brand reputation, however, this is not the only reason why you should do so. Here are a few reasons why you should respond to negative reviews.

Make Things Right With The Unhappy Customer

Responding to a negative review gives you a chance to make things right with the unhappy customer. You can ask them for more clarification, acknowledge the mistake, and invite them to give you a second chance. This also shows other people reading the review that you took matters into your hands and are actively working on addressing the issue.

Win Over New Potential Customers

Remember that if you have nothing but positive reviews, your business might come off as too good to be true. People might become skeptical and wonder if all those good reviews are paid for in some way. This in turn might lead them to completely ignore your business. 

A business with both negative and positive reviews comes off as more genuine. If you also take time to address negative reviews, people will perceive you as a business that truly cares about their customers’ satisfaction. When other people see that you’re going above and beyond to make your customers happy, they will be more inclined to do business with you.

Make Your Brand More Relatable

Finally, negative reviews can make your brand more relatable. As mentioned earlier, if you have both positive and negative reviews, you have better chances of presenting yourself as a business with real people behind it. This makes it easier for potential customers to give you a chance and do business with you despite a few negative reviews.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

So now that you know why you should respond to negative reviews, let’s go over how to respond to them along with a few examples. 

Acknowledge The Problem

The most important tip we have is to acknowledge the problem. This advice applies even if you think that the customer is not right. If you don’t acknowledge the issue, the customer will feel like you’re attacking them which can escalate the situation further. Instead, thank them for bringing the issue to your attention and use a response similar to this: 

negative review example
A negative review with a response that acknowledges the problem

Example response you can use: Jane, thank you for providing feedback and letting us know about the negative experience.

Follow It Up With an Apology

The next step is to follow up with an apology. For starters, an apology will make your unhappy customers feel better and show them that you care about them as well as hold your business to a higher standard. On top of that, even if you feel the customer is wrong, an apology shows you can take the high road instead of entering a public argument over who’s right and who’s wrong. 

Example response you can use: We are sorry that our service didn’t meet your expectations. 

Explain If Necessary

In some cases, and particularly, if the customer is right, you should explain what happened. The explanation gives you an opportunity to clear up a misunderstanding and show that while you’ve had the best intentions, mistakes sometimes happen. 

negative review with explanation
A negative review and a reply that offers an explanation.

Example response you can use: We experienced a power surge which caused us to lose important information about your package delivery which caused a delay. We truly apologize for the inconvenience.

Present a Solution

Once you have acknowledged a mistake and offered an explanation, you should present a solution. This can include things like inviting them to reschedule an appointment, offering a refund, waiving the shipping costs, and so forth. 

Example response you can use: To make things right for you, we have expedited the delivery service on your package and are waiving the shipping costs entirely. 

Invite Them To Discuss The Problem Offline

If the mistake is too serious to be handled online, consider inviting the reviewer to discuss the issue offline. While speaking to them on the phone or in person, you’ll be able to better understand their point of view and clear up any miscommunication. You can then come up with a more effective solution. 

negative review with invitation for discussion
A negative review with an invitation to discuss.

Example response you can use: I’d like to personally assist you in making things right so please reach out to me personally via email or phone. Here’s my contact information: John Doe, 123-456-789.

Keep it Brief

As with responding to positive reviews, there is no point in writing a lengthy reply. Nobody wants to read a wall of text, especially if they feel wronged. Be concise and clear and keep the response brief. 

Respond In a Timely Fashion

When dealing with negative reviews, it’s important to respond in a timely fashion. Waiting for weeks to respond will only anger your customer more and add more fuel to the fire. Instead, reply as soon as possible and offer a solution to show your customers and others that you do care about them. 

Be Professional and Objective

As hard as it may be, it’s important to keep your cool and respond to the review in a professional and objective manner. Insulting your customer, not acknowledging the possibility of a mistake, and shifting the blame onto your customer will hurt your brand more than it will prove that you are right and the customer is in the wrong. 

Remember that you’re not replying to one person, you’re replying to everyone else reading the bad review. How you handle the situation will influence their decision to do business with you. 

Know When To Let It Go

In some cases, the negative review will have nothing to do with your business or service per se but it will happen because someone had a bad day or just feels like trolling you. It’s important to address the review anyway but if you see the responses are leading nowhere, it’s best to let it go.

Final Thoughts

Responding to negative reviews is crucial if you want to protect your brand reputation. Remember to be prompt and professional and above all, try to be objective. Follow the tips in this article to help you address negative reviews and maintain your online reputation.