No one likes negative customer reviews or criticism. People often react defensively at this point. They try to avoid the situation, work around it, or explain themselves. This is a natural reaction. But in the corporate world, this is exactly the wrong way to act.
All customer reviews are important for the business success of a company. According to the Customer Journey Study 2021, customer reviews come first during the information phase for customers within the customer journey! Negative reviews are also crucial and represent a special opportunity for the company!
Table of content:
- Negative reviews are important
- Dealing with negative reviews
- Best examples of responses to (negative) reviews
Negative reviews are important
criticism is completely normal. Top ratings are subject to a certain amount of skepticism. It simply seems untrustworthy when a product is completely perfect. Of course, a negative rating can scare off potential customers. Nevertheless, negative reviews should be seen in a different light.
Negative reviews represent an outstanding opportunity: Companies can show their personality and empathy. Show that problems can be taken seriously and solved. That customer proximity and customer satisfaction come first. This gives the company a face and makes it more human.
Dealing with negative reviews
The response to negative feedback is mostly online. This means customers see and follow how companies deal with negative reviews. Companies thus represent the quality of the customer experience to the public! This also has an impact on the company’s reputation. Reputation management should be known to every company. It would be a public failure if it is not done properly. Thus, properly responding to positive as well as negative reviews should be a priority. A full 96% of consumers read businesses’ responses to their reviews (Bright Local Review Study 2020). It becomes clear – proper handling of reviews especially negative feedback is required!
Dealing with negative reviews is not easy. The company is faced with a major challenge. General guidelines have been compiled below to help in dealing with negative reviews.
Try not to hide from your bad reviews. Likewise, it is not helpful to ignore or even delete negative reviews.
The most important thing at this point is to read the review. Try to understand what exactly happened. Still, look at the review objectively and not personally. Try to take the customer’s perspective and understand their problem. Respond. Show the customer that you take the problem seriously.
Respond to the review in a factual and polite manner. Please avoid generic responses at this point. These do not seem personal and do not offer the customer a solution.
You should be grateful for any kind of evaluation. After all, it is honest customer feedback. Negative reviews can highlight errors or weaknesses in a particular area within the company. Thus, a “thank you for the feedback” is an important part of a well-formulated response.
Everyone makes mistakes. But that also includes standing behind those mistakes. Apologize. This works wonders. 37% of disappointed customers are satisfied when companies already offer compensation. 74% of customers show satisfaction once not only compensation is offered, but an apology follows (The Customer Rage Study 2015). It is not enough to simply apologize. The apology should be sincere, emphatic as well as specific. It is also important that you justify the apology. Only then can it be understood and accepted by the customer.
Of course, there are exceptions. You should not apologize if you have done nothing wrong. Nevertheless, show understanding. Make it clear that the reason for dissatisfaction does not depend on you.
We live in a fast-paced world. Customers also want quick feedback on reviews. 61% of customers expect a response within the first three days (Bright Local Review Study 2020). Long unanswered negative reviews can deter potential customers.
Focus on one area of improvement
Negative customer reviews are valuable pieces of information. Go through your negative reviews and gather insights and suggestions for improvement.
Mention your findings in your responses! This shows that you understand the problem and are willing to work on it.
Implement your suggestions for improvement. It is best to start with an improvement that can be solved relatively easily and quickly. This way, you show customers that you can accept negative criticism and respond to it immediately. While you are implementing quicker improvements directly, you can work internally on larger changes.
Keep in touch with your customers
After you have successfully responded to a negative review and provided a solution, don’t lose sight of the customer! After a few weeks, write the customer again and ask if they are satisfied with your solution. For many customers, this is a positive surprise! This not only generates customer enthusiasm, but can also lead that the customer formulate positive feedback and citing you as a good example of how to react correctly to negative customer feedback.
These are just a few examples of many of how you can properly respond to negative customer feedback. Basically, you can see the need to respond to negative customer reviews! To ensure that all customers are heard it is important for companies to closely monitor the reviews on all review sites and respond to as many as possible. This can be ensured with the help of a review manager!
Best examples of responses to (negative) google reviews
1. Upselling: invite your guest with a specific purpose
In this example, guests were happy with their experience and posted positive reviews of the restaurants they visited. Nevertheless, you can react similarly in case of negative feedback.
The owners didn’t only thank the guests for their feedback but also invited them to come back and do something they haven’t done yet. After reading the management response, the guest came back to try a roast chicken which was suggested by the owner. He then updated his previous review with new feedback.
This example clearly shows how easy it is to strengthen customer loyalty and engagement by responding properly to reviews.
2. Asking for more details and taking the conversation off the platform
The review below was originally posted with a one-star rating and no text. The owner asked the guest for some more details about her visit to be able to improve in the future. He also provided an email address to which the guest could write directly to discuss the issue.
It turned out that she left a one-star rating by mistake. She liked the owner’s response, and since the overall experience at the restaurant was positive, she updated the review with a top rating.
This raise from one to five stars can be very significant in Google’s rating and make a difference when guests decide whether or not to visit a restaurant.
3. Explaining the situation and winning your guest’s trust
In the next example for responses to online reviews, a guest complained about the room temperature. The restaurant’s team apologized and tried to provide a solution. The restaurant didn’t try to push back but was very diplomatic and understanding. The response is personal and friendly.
Also, in this case, the guest updated the review: he was excited to receive a response to his criticism and gave one star more. This example shows that a professionally written management response can turn bad experiences into good ones. The guest’s impression of the restaurant changed and he even would like to come back.
Of course, the goal of a restaurant should be to provide outstanding customer experiences on a daily basis. But mistakes happen sometimes, and it’s important to deal with guest feedback smartly.