First of all, do not panic. Bad reviews create significant credibility for your positive reviews; they help your customers make a purchase decision. And most important they give you a chance to respond and show how responsive and awesome your business really is.
Negative reviews happen all the time; your task is to make lemonade from them. You should not respond to every negative review you get. However, you must step in when you are able to “own the issue.”
You answer the reviews to show that: you are paying attention to the issue; the issue and the customer are important to you; you are sorry that the problem occured and you want to help. You should communicate your desire to help and solve the problem.
The aim of your answer is to tell your prospects that something has changed and this issue will not happen to them. Do not waste this great opportunity to market your business and show your prospects that your company cares about them.
Guidelines for Your Response
- Calm down. We understand, a negative review most likely made you angry. That is the reason to take your time, calm down and write your comment when you are relaxed. Your response should not sound angry. Do not do what this business apparently did.
- Do not be defensive. It happens that clients are not satisfied with the products. You are here to help and to resolve the issue; not to explain why the problem occurred, but to resolve it. The best advice is to show your answer to a person who doesn’t work at your company and remove everything that sounds defensive to them.
- Make your answer short. You want your answer to be read; that is why you should keep it short and clear.
- Write for your prospects. That is the most important part. Think about your audience. Your response is addressed to the reviewer, but your real audience is your prospects, who make decisions upon reviews. Your response should not try to change the reviewer’s mind or dispute the facts as set out in the review.
- Encourage positive reviews. It’s much more likely for a customer with a bad experience to take the time to post a review than for one with a positive one to share their feedback. Be more proactive in encouraging customers happy with your products or services to say so publicly on online review sites. Good reviews will help to offset bad ones and make consumers less likely to consider the latter as being credible.
Writing a short, non-defensive reply to a review that owns the issue & describes how the issue has been resolved will earn you the trust of your future customers.