How to Respond to Negative Reviews

Best Practices for Interacting with Customer Feedback

When satisfying the needs of the clientele, passionate business owners and managers strive to surpass expectations. But what happens when those expectations fall short? How you choose to respond to criticism and negativity is often more convincing of a business’ level of congeniality.

Even with consistent 5-star ratings and an outstanding number of positive comments, every business is eventually bound to receive a negative review. And it is likely that potential customers or clients will read these bad reviews. How you choose to respond to negativity will not only resolve an issue with the current clientele but show the future clientele that their wants and needs are prioritized. 

Acknowledge the Problem

People do not always leave negative reviews to ward off future consumers. Sometimes, negative reviewers simply want to feel like they are heard. Therefore, it is so important to always start out with an apology and acknowledge that you understand they had a bad experience. Even if you are unsure as to what the review is about, an apology is a great way to deter any further conflict because you can never be sure what the motive behind the comment is. 

Curate Thoughtful Responses

Make sure your responses to not only negative reviews, but positive ones too, are narrowly tailored. Specificity is key to allowing your business to seem as personable as possible. Addressing the customer by name and repeating the problem back to them are both simple and effective ways to show that someone is behind the computer ready to solve their problem. 

Think About What You Can Do

Sometimes a negative review outlines a general bad experience, but if the review specifically points out something about their experience, begin to think of ways you can remedy the issue. 

For example, if a guest at a restaurant was unhappy with their meal or their service, you can offer them to come back for a complimentary meal or drink. By doing so, not only have you acknowledged their feelings, but you can potentially gain back their business. 

Although offering freebies isn’t always possible, according to TripAdvisor, 89% of travelers said a thoughtful response to a negative review improved their impression of a business, showing the effectiveness of owners responding to all types of reviews.

Don’t Remove Negative Reviews

Negative reviews aren’t held to one platform. Being verified on a myriad of review sites like TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, Yelp, and Facebook are great for customer engagement. But it is important to remember that you are exposing yourself to gain positive and negative reviews. It is easy to be tempted to simply delete defeating reviews, but that will only do more harm than good. Acting on negative feedback can produce long-term benefits for your business. 

For example, if your restaurant is receiving multiple bad reviews about a dish, it might be time to reconsider the recipe. By announcing that as a restaurant you have done this, it will turn you into a business that doesn’t just hear customers, but actually listens to what they have to say.

Contesting Negative Reviews

It is important to stay on top of responding to criticism not only to keep customers or guests happy, but also because some reviews do need to be taken down. All platforms have a very similar process for contesting or flagging reviews. Most importantly, reviews that you want to be taken down often need to be flagged and will take a couple of days to be taken care of. But don’t fret! Keep responding to what you can in order to keep those customers happy.

Negative engagement is still engagement. As a business, you should want to respond to all feedback as much as you can. Show off your customer service skills by handling any sort of review with a positive outlook! 

Ready to Interact with the Critics?

Meerkat Media Group has a vast range of experience with everything from daily content creation to reputation management. If you’re looking for advice about responding to negative reviews, we’re here to help.

Contact us to learn how to take your digital marketing to the next level!