Be quick. Time is of the essence. You cannot let a negative review sit there and marinate for a long time. The negative review is doing its job which is taking away potential customers from you. Your absence of reply or explanation addressing the complaint doesn’t do you any favors either. If someone is upset enough to leave you negative reviews they expect a fairly swift response from you. Your reply limits the damage and turns the potentially negative review into an opportunity to show your consumers you care and are willing to be better.
Be thoughtful. Being quick to the scene of the disaster is of no use if you don’t know how to handle the situation. You could make things worse if you don’t handle it correctly. You need to know what the customer wants to hear and how you can handle an already fuming hot customer and not lose their loyalty. In a way, the customers are helping you by giving you a negative. A negative review helps you find the fault line in your service and it helps you to mend your ways and please a larger customer base. When replying keep in mind you should be courteous because they cared enough to give you their feedback and a chance to win them over.
Be honest. As a company, you need to understand no one is perfect but people who own up to their mistakes are better than people who push the blame. Your customers would appreciate that you are honest with them and are willing to better your mistakes. Most negative reviewers – and customers in general – prefer an honest response to a genuine mistake with the understanding that their complaint is addressed in a fair and heartfelt manner.
Make them feel heard. If you are dealing with multiple negative reviews the worst thing you could do is to copy-paste your response to everyone. Your reply could be heartfelt and genuine but giving the same response to everyone doesn’t reflect in a good way on your business. Make custom replies to everyone who interacts with you make them feel heard rather than talking to a wall with the same message plastered all over it. Make them feel heard. There’s no better way to do that than with a custom response showing empathy and compassion.
Follow up and offer compensation. What is the point of replying if you don’t even follow up with the customer who gave you the negative review? Make sure that you follow up with your customer and check whether their grievances were adequately answered. Offer them compensation for their bad experience with you and check whether their experience improved. Their reviews matter a lot to you and them.
The online platforms offer customers a chance to be heard and more leverage over the business and businesses need to learn how to handle negative reviews when the stakes are much larger.