When it comes to customer feedback, responding to negative reviews isn’t always fun. But it’s rarely an option either.
Potential customers research small businesses by looking at customer reviews to see if a business has a good reputation. This includes how a company handles negative reviews.
A business needs to manage its reputation to improve search rankings and turn website leads into sales. Responding to positive and negative online reviews builds your reputation.
Online reviews and having a strong online reputation are important for any small business.
Customer reviews are a big part of your company's reputation. They tell future customers what they can expect by hiring your company or buying your products.
Therefore, collecting and responding to reviews is an essential aspect of reputation management, especially when it comes to negative reviews.
How a company handles negative reviews reveals their character.
Of course, some negative reviews are fake or violate Google's reviews policy, and in those instances, it's important to know how to report a Google review.
Often negative reviews are legitimate and it's important to respond to them.
In some cases, replying to negative reviews gives businesses an opportunity to win a customer back or even mitigate further damage.
For example, replying to negative online reviews shows you care about customer feedback. When people feel listened to, they'll be more likely to support your business.
This contributes positively to your company's reputation and helps to increase referral revenue down the road.
By responding to negative reviews, you can move your business forward with reputation marketing: using your reputation and customer reviews to promote your business.
A good reputation can amplify itself, leading to growth opportunities and more sales. This is the principle at the heart of reputation marketing.
Very few customers who are unhappy will actually go out of their way to explain why.
In fact, the number is less than 5%.
So when a customer provides constructive feedback in a negative review, it gives you a rare chance to self-reflect on how your business can improve.
At NiceJob, we conducted internal research to discover the most common topics associated with negative reviews—as defined by any review with only a 1- or 2-star rating.
The three most common topics that popped up more than any other were, in order, unreliable service, poor results and unprofessional service.
These topics beat out other ones such as limited experience, slow responses, dishonesty, expensive prices or difficult to contact.
What does this mean? It means that your customers care about the quality, professionalism and reliability of the end product/service that they receive above all else.
It's likely then that a lot of negative reviews about your business could provide a lot of valuable information about how you can improve your end products/services.
So always take the opportunity when it's appropriate to reply to negative reviews in good faith to see how your business can improve for the future.
Reviews help improve search rankings and conversion rates of website visitors into leads.
But how a company responds to its reviews is just as essential. Responses to reviews are public and attached to the reviews themselves, so potential customers can see them.
Therefore, they can make an impression on your potential customers, which is important because according to online review statistics, 97% of people say reviews impact their decisions.
So how can you better manage your reputation and handle negative online reviews to keep your business moving forward?
There’s a number of things to consider when responding to negative reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp or similar review sites.
We'll overview six key things for replying to negative customer feedback and provide six example templates of how to respond to negative reviews of your business.
Remember to personalize each review response and avoid canned responses. Use these examples as a guide for your own responses so you can turn those frowns upside down!
When should you respond to a negative review? Most consumers expect a reply within the same day.
Respond quickly to negative reviews to address the situation in a timely manner. Monitor reviews often to know when an unhappy customer has left a negative review.
How you respond to negative reviews on Google, Facebook or Yelp matters. Don't get personal and blast off an angry rant when replying to a negative review.
Your reply isn't just for an individual but for everyone else too. How you respond to a dissatisfied customer can influence a future customer's decision to choose your business.
When writing a response to a negative online review, keep it brief and to the point. Steer the customer towards having a conversation to resolve the issue and suggest taking it offline.
Respond in public to negative customer feedback and when suitable, take things offline.
Replying to negative reviews on Google, Facebook or Yelp allows you to provide context and show that your business works to make customers happy.
Once resolved, return to the original review and thank the customer for the chance to fix the issue.
You can’t fix every negative review. Some responses open you up to more negative attention.
Determine if engagement is the right course of action and ignore angry rants. Sometimes you have to stand your ground (see response #7 below), but know where to draw the line.
Sometimes negative sentiments encourage bandwagon-jumpers. Every situation is different, but no situation calls for confrontation or excuses.
Tackle the issue head-on and own your mistakes.
If a situation creates a stream of unhappy people knocking on your door, make sure your support team is trained in crisis management and knows how to handle a difficult customer.
For instance, take the conversation offline as soon as it's appropriate, try to focus on facts & not feelings, stay clam and offer solutions as best you can.
It can be difficult but maintaining your integrity is important for reputation management. About 90% of customers trust online reviews and many read review responses.
When responding to negative reviews of your business, keep it succinct, be prompt with your reply and be professional.
Provide a public response and when suitable, suggest taking it offline. Once resolved, return to the online review and thank your customer for allowing you to fix the situation.
Remember, less than 5% of dissatisfied customers say why they’re unhappy. So the unhappy customers who share their negative experiences are doing your business a favor.
Staying on top of reviews—positive or negative—can be time-consuming and inefficient.
With NiceJob's reputation marketing software, automatically collect & share positive reviews from happy customers and effectively respond to reviews for Google, Facebook and Yelp.
With a free 14-day trial, you can see for yourself how easy it is to leverage customer reviews for your marketing efforts with no upfront commitment.