Brushing dirt under the carpet symbolizing what most people do to deal with a negative review

There’s no denying that the transparent nature of online reviews is changing the way customers educate themselves on products and make purchasing decisions. Your business’s online reputation and the way you interact with both happy and unhappy customers plays a large role in whether a customer chooses to purchase from you or a competitor. We all strive for positive reviews, but what should you do if someone takes their voice online to share a not-so-great experience they had with your business? Read on to discover the best-practice steps you can take to address (and hopefully resolve) a customer’s poor experience, and in turn show future customers that your business takes their satisfaction seriously.


Prepare your response

Before responding, take some time to understand the situation and what the root of the problem is. Consult the staff that worked with the customer to gather as many details on the customer and the experience as you can. Fully understanding the situation helps you see the problem from both sides and craft an educated, personalized response. Apologize and acknowledge the poor experience that occurred and then calmly and factually explain your side of the story (if necessary). Remember, your response is public! Write with a professional demeanor, don’t get emotional and don’t get into too many details online.


Respond to the negative review

Sometimes it’s hard to accept, but it’s important to remember that all customer feedback is valid. Responding to the review is critical – the importance of responding to customer reviews has tripled in the past year. Rather than quietly brushing it under the rug, think of this as an opportunity to win back this customer and show off your business’s good customer service. Make sure to respond promptly but not hastily. Haste often results in an emotional, poorly constructed response. Giving an informed response within 24 hours of receiving the review shows that your business is responsible, attentive and engaged with its customers.


Take the conversation offline

Explain in your reply that your company takes customer satisfaction very seriously. Provide them with an alternate way to contact you to further discuss and resolve the problem. This ensures that you present a responsive, well-intentioned position to the public and helps you move the conversation to a private platform offline. It’s possible that by further communicating offline and coming to a solution that the customer may remove his or her negative review or revise their negative review to reflect the resolution.


Responding to negative reviews in a thoughtful and appropriate way demonstrates that your company is proactive and cares about its customers. A well-crafted response and push for a solution reinforces your other positive reviews and overall credibility. Don’t forget that reviews give you the opportunity to learn from your customers and understand how to make your business even better. You can never please everyone, but if a business resolves their issue quickly and efficiently, 95% of unhappy customers will return. If you’re looking for a way to better manage reviews, adding a reputation management tool to your website is an easy way to gain, monitor and respond to reviews all in one place! Want to learn more? Give us a call at 800.248.1955 or attend our upcoming webinar: Harness the Power of Online Reviews!