Do’s and Don’ts of Responding to Negative Reviews

Digital Marketing, Reputation Management | 0 comments

Written by Rene Carling

August 10, 2023
rogers advertising
Business Man sits in front of computer, contemplating | Do's and Don's of responding to negative reviews

In the digital age, online reviews have become a powerful force shaping the reputation and success of businesses. When faced with negative feedback, how a business responds publicly can make a significant impact on its brand perception.

We will explore the do’s and don’ts of responding to negative reviews, empowering businesses in Hampton Roads to navigate these situations with grace, professionalism, and a customer-centric mindset.

In a study by Corra on why customers leave negative reviews, 38.9% of respondents said they want an apology from the business they left the negative review for.

It’s important to craft a response that acknowledges the issue, offers a solution, and demonstrates to future potential customers that you’re honest and take ownership.

The Do’s of Responding to Negative Reviews

Do Respond Promptly

Timely responses show that you value customer feedback and are committed to resolving issues. Aim to address negative reviews within 24-48 hours to demonstrate your attentiveness and willingness to make things right.

Do Express Empathy and Understanding

Start your response by acknowledging the customer’s concerns and expressing genuine empathy. Let them know that their feedback matters to you and that you take their experience seriously.

Do Offer a Sincere Apology

Apologize for the negative experience the customer had, even if you believe their perception is inaccurate. Apologizing shows humility and a desire to find a resolution. Avoid making excuses or shifting blame; take responsibility for any shortcomings.

Do Take the Conversation Offline

Publicly acknowledge the review and provide contact information for the customer to reach out privately. Continuing the conversation privately allows for a more personalized and effective resolution, while also protecting the customer’s privacy.

Do Offer a Solution

Demonstrate your commitment to resolving the issue by proposing a solution that addresses the customer’s concerns. Whether it’s a refund, a replacement, or an invitation to discuss the matter further, provide tangible steps that show you are actively working towards a resolution.

Replying to Customer Reviews Results in Better Ratings

When companies make mistakes, customers often write reviews about it online. Some companies have started responding to customer reviews, but do these responses affect the ratings that customers give them? According to a study of hotel reviews on TripAdvisor, yes: When hotels start responding, they receive 12% more reviews and their ratings increase by an average of 0.12 stars (on a 1-to-5 scale). These gains may seem small, but they can have a significant effect on the hotel’s rating, due to how platforms like TripAdvisor round ratings up or down.

Source: Harvard Business Review

The Don’ts of Responding to Negative Reviews

Don’t Respond Defensively

It’s natural to feel defensive when faced with negative feedback, but responding defensively can escalate the situation and damage your reputation. Avoid taking criticism personally and instead focus on finding a solution that satisfies the customer.

Don’t Engage in a Public Argument

Engaging in a back-and-forth argument in a public forum only amplifies the negativity and can turn away potential customers. Stay professional and avoid getting caught up in a heated exchange. Remember, your response is visible to everyone, and future customers will be watching how you handle the situation.

Don’t Ignore or Delete Negative Reviews

Ignoring or deleting negative reviews sends a message that you don’t value customer feedback or are trying to hide something. Embrace negative feedback as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Even if you can’t resolve the issue completely, respond respectfully to show that you care about your customers’ experiences.

Many review sites, like Google Business, don’t even offer the option to delete a review, so it’s best to respond in a polite and professional manner.

Don’t Violate Customer Privacy

When responding, be mindful of not sharing any personal or sensitive information about the customer. Respect their privacy and keep the conversation focused on finding a resolution.

This is extremely important for medical businesses as they can violate HIPAA should they offer too much information. Keep responses simple and take the conversation offline to avoid any violations. Looking for HIPAA-Compliant Review Responses? Check these out.

Don’t Let Emotions Dictate Your Response

Negative reviews can be frustrating and disheartening, but it’s crucial to remain calm and composed when crafting your response. Take a step back, gather your thoughts, and respond in a professional manner. Emotional reactions can lead to regrettable responses that harm your business’s reputation.

26 Proven Examples of How to Respond to Negative Reviews

There are many do’s and don’ts, but finding the right way to respond can be difficult. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 26 negative review responses that are sure to acknowledge the issue and provide solutions!

Responding to negative reviews publicly requires finesse, empathy, and a commitment to customer satisfaction. By following the do’s and avoiding the don’ts, businesses in Hampton Roads can turn potentially damaging situations into opportunities for growth and relationship-building.

Remember, every interaction is a chance to showcase your dedication to exceptional customer service and demonstrate that you value feedback as a tool for improvement. By thoughtfully responding to negative reviews, businesses can navigate the delicate terrain of negative reviews, paving the way for a positive brand reputation and long-term success.

Headshot of Rene Carling
Rene Carling

Rene Carling, Director of Digital Marketing, has managed numerous integrated marketing campaigns, including Search Engine Marketing, Video, Display, and much more. She is also Google AdWords Certified, which gives her a thorough understanding of Search Engine Marketing campaigns.

About Rene Carling

Rene Carling, Director of Digital Marketing, has managed numerous integrated marketing campaigns, including Search Engine Marketing, Video, Display, and much more. She is also Google AdWords Certified, which gives her a thorough understanding of Search Engine Marketing campaigns.

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