When it comes to negative reviews, the most important thing to remember is not to panic. Even the best companies get bad reviews and unhappy customers.
However, the way you handle negative reviews says a lot more about your company than the review itself. If someone is replying in a negative way, that generally means there was a misunderstanding, they’re trying to be funny, or they want to be heard. Sometimes, if handled correctly, these people will go on to become some of your biggest brand advocates.
Make negative comments a priority— but don’t reply unless you have time. A well-thought out reply is always better than a quick reply. If you respond within 24hrs, there’s a 33% higher chance the reviewer will change their review to a higher star rating
Remember, it looks bad if you ignore a negative comment but reply to other comments. So, if the person who needs to reply to that specific comment isn’t around, acknowledge the comment by telling the poster: We appreciate the feedback and have passed the comment onto our team and will get back to you ASAP.
It’s a good policy to err on the side of caution and treat all concerns as legitimate. Do not delete negative comments unless they’re incredibly vulgar and use sexually explicit language or hate speech – and before this is done, report the comment and block the user.
Try to familiarize yourself with social media platforms’ policies so you know if you can get certain comments removed. For example, Google doesn’t allow reviews from former employees or competitors, hate speech, or sexually explicit content.
If you can’t get bad reviews removed, you can reduce how many people see it and judge your business by it by collecting more positive reviews.
One of many customers’ biggest complaints is being passed around by management. To avoid them getting frustrated, emphasize that you’re not just handing them off, you’re going to make things right and get the problem resolved more efficiently. Offer to move the conversion towards direct message, email, or a call. A call is the best option because it reminds customers you’re a real person and tone isn’t always obvious over text.
Be careful with your language so you don’t over-promise. It’s a good policy to always underpromise, but over-deliver. People will feel betrayed if they come back months later and something still isn’t available.
Instead, thank them for the suggestion or idea, then say it’s something you’re discussing or it’s on the to-do list, but right now your company has a small small team and ___ is a priority. Customers are more likely to stick with brands they feel they can trust. If you mess up, admit it and make it right.
When it comes to internet trolls, you can either ignore them, respond with humor, or genuine interest in their complaint.
An example of this would be if someone replies with a meme like “Imma keep it real with u chief ain’t nobody clicking that”, reply to it with humor – while still asking why they feel that way. Generally, that person will get a kick out of the fact that you bothered replying at all, and often will retweet/screencap it to share it with their followers or share their genuine feedback.
If a customer wasn’t happy with your work, offer to cover the cost of fixing your work. Alternatively, you can offer something high value to clients and low cost to you. There are a lot of small add-on options you can offer to settle disputes or use to make up for delays.
Here’s an example of how to respond to a negative review.
“Hi [name], Thank you for your feedback on our services. We’re sorry to hear that you’ve had a negative experience. Feel free to give us a call at [phone number] if you’d like to chat with us. We’d love to make this right!”
Outside of email, you’ll want to download the following apps to respond quickly to comments and reviews:
This app allows you to manage your Google Business listing. Get alerted when customers leave new reviews and easily reply from the app. Want to show off your work? You can also upload images from your phone directly to the app.
Manage your Yelp profile with the Yelp For Business app. Like the Google My Business app, this app allows you to get push notifications of new reviews and messages and reply on the go. Reviews can be replied to both privately and publicly.
With this app, you can quickly view and manage comments left on your Facebook page and sent through messages. You’ll also be able to manage bookings and post directly to your page while on the go, and whenever someone creates a booking, it will appear in your messages.
While users are less likely to contact you on Instagram, it’s a good idea to keep the app on your phone so you can quickly see and reply to new messages. Facebook Business Suite will show you new comments, but you’ll need the Instagram app to reply to direct messages on mobile.
And just like that, you’re now well prepared to handle any and all reviews that come your way. It’s important to note that whether the review is positive or negative, you should never respond out of emotion. Always take a deep breath before responding to reviews, and do your best to respond in a calm and friendly manner.