How to Respond to Negative Reviews

In the past we dug into How Your Brand Can Reduce the Risk of Reputation Nightmares but we didn’t really cover what to do when something happens and you get a negative review. In this episode a guest stops by to help walk us and you through how to handle negative reviews and how to leverage them to improve your business.

How Do You Know Something is Going to be Offensive?

The internet is global, just because you think something will play well in a certain market it might not everywhere. In the example during the podcast the ad may of not been offensive locally but for a global company that has a global audience that then saw it – many were not so pleased.

Negative > Happy

Those that you make happy, serve well and meet their expectations are less likely to leave a review. Those that are unhappy, upset or offended by something are the people more likely to be the one to leave a bad review, Tweet about something, or spread their angst by word of mouth. Those that are happy move along with their day and life.

Tips on Responding to Negative Reviews

No matter if it is on Google, Yelp, Tripadvisor, Facebook, or any other site that has reviews. And no matter what remember what Andy says in that those and all review sites is not who you are but a reflection of how you treat your customer.

  • Be sincere in your apology – don’t give a stock apology.
  • Explain what happened and explain what you are doing to change and demonstrate how you are actually following through.
  • Look at ways to collect responses before people leave your business or before they go elsewhere unhappy and leave a review.
  • Be respectful but don’t get into a back and forth.
  • Try and take it offline – give them an email address, phone number, something.
  • Don’t let your response become emotional and defensive.
  • Always assume that the person complaining is having the worst day of their life.
  • Draft up your response and then walk away. Give it time between from when you write something and when you publish.
  • Call a friend. Discuss what happened and what you are thinking of giving as a response.
  • Check their purchase or if they were actually a customer. Fact check on what they say and what reality is (did they think you have 1 day shipping but the site clearly says 3 day)
  • Watch for trends – do people constantly leave similar reviews? Watch for trends.
  • Show them that you are a company that cares.
  • Highlight any positives in the review that you can.

Tips on Leveraging Negative Reviews to Improve Your Business

  • Training Opportunities
  • Watch for trends – do people constantly leave similar reviews? Watch for trends.
  • Keep negative reviews and go over them with various team members. What copy on the site could be changed? Does your business need a bigger or better placed sign?
  • Lifetime cost of a detractor – Andy digs into how and why you should factor this into your business.

What is the Value of Unhappy Customers?

The short answer is – a lot. Andy touches and makes reference to studies but then the conversation moved on and we didn’t specifically state any studies or resources. We won’t leave you hanging! To help you we thought we would dig up a few additional resources so you can dig into the Lifetime Cost of a Detractor.

Episode 95 Mentioned Tools & Resources

E95 – How to Respond to Negative Reviews With Andy Beal Hosts:




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