How to Respond to Bad Reviews

Today's consumers almost always go online when finding a new business. Whether they want to try out a new restaurant in town, or need to find a different hair stylist, they will most likely go to review sites like Yelp to find out what others in their community have to say. Businesses with great reviews will have a chance at gaining a new customer, whereas a site with bad reviews is easy to dismiss. That can be a major problem for a business owner who has only a few positive reviews and notices that a disgruntled customer has left bad feedback. While it's natural to be upset and angry, it's important to handle the situation in a way that can increase your brand's image rather than make the problem worse. Here are a few tips on how to properly respond to a bad review.


Try to Remain Calm and Objective

Keep in mind that the internet gives a certain degree of anonymity for customers. They don't have to use their full name, or even their real name when leaving a review. This gives them a chance to unleash their anger, and their irritation may be fueled by personal issues. The online world is full of trolls and irate people that enjoy leaving cruel comments. If your bad review is particularly rude and inconsiderate, the most important thing to do is stay objective. Lashing out at the reviewer might feel good for a few seconds, but it won't fix the problem and if any other potential customers see that you've responded in an immature or negative way then they will expect to receive the same treatment if they are dissatisfied with their purchase. While the reviewer can remain unidentified, your company and brand will be held accountable to every word it publishes in public, including review sites and social media comments. 

Respond Kindly to Their Comments

Remain respectful. Acknowledge their complaints and don't try to argue. Instead, extend a hand and ask if there is any way that you can remedy the situation in a fair way. Often, all they want is to be heard and recognized. If you can show that you truly care about customer satisfaction, then not only will you be able to fix the issue, but you might gain their loyalty. When others see how well you respond, they will respect your maturity and be more willing to trust your company. They will feel that if an issue occurs, they will be treated justly and with compassion. 

After the Issue is Solved Ask for Them to Update Their Review

Once the problem is solved, and the disgruntled customer is now fully satisfied, ask them if they will update the review. If done in a nice, friendly way, the customer will probably be more than happy to make a change to their comment, or at least leave a positive comment explaining that they were treated well and the issue has been resolved. This will help ease the mind of a customer who is trying to make a purchasing decision, and increase the odds that they will choose your company. 

Encourage Happy Customer's to Give Reviews

One of the best ways to combat negative feedback is by having a lot of positive reviews posted to the same site. This doesn't mean you should go out and pay someone to post a bunch of fake comments. In fact, this could get you banned or chastised by the review site. Instead, encourage your satisfied customers to post reviews. After a transaction, ask that they give you a review, and tell them which sites you prefer. If you're sending them a thank you email, you can link directly to the most popular sites and make it incredibly easy for them to do so. 

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