Negative customer review: how to handle it?

Natalia Zaugg, Founder

26 February 2017

Receiving a negative review can be very frustrating, but dealing with the situation smartly will increase the chance that your online reputation is not damaged. Unsatisfied customers are more likely to leave a review than satisfied ones, and this feedback can influence the decision of future customers. Many review websites allow businesses to respond to customer reviews and this chance shouldn’t be missed. How to respond to a negative review?

Don’t Ignore, Respond

1. Be polite and forthcoming

We recommend beginning the response by thanking the customer for writing a review and apologizing for not meeting the customer’s expectations. Your response should be friendly from beginning to end, showing that you care about every customer and are willing to reverse the negative impression. Highlight that the feedback will be noted and assure of future satisfaction.

2. Explain the situation

Emotions aside, show an objective view of the situation. No product or service can please everyone, that’s natural. What is important is that future customers who check online reviews get the full picture. If you have done everything in your power to provide a high-quality service, make it understandable for others.

Negative reviews are not bad per se. They can be a valuable source of information on how you can improve your service or product.

3. Engage in dialog

Sometimes it is not clear from a review what exactly went wrong. Ask the customer for a more detailed feedback. It may help to take the communication on a private ground, for example, provide an email address or a phone number so that a customer can reach you and you can solve the problem together. The good news is that online reviews can be updated by the reviewers. It is another reason to respond to a negative review

4. Deal with false reviews

Review websites have review policies that regulate the content of a review. For example, online reviews should be based on personal experience, should not contain unlawful content, personal and confidential information, or hate speech. If you got an inappropriate review, you can ask the website to remove the review.

Negative reviews are not bad per se. They can be a valuable source of information on how you can improve your service or product. Besides, people tend to distrust businesses that only have high ratings, a few bad reviews make the picture more realistic. By responding to negative reviews you can build trust with your customers and increase engagement.

Do you want some actionable insights? In our Ultimate Guide to Online Reviews you can find lots of templates to respond to negative and positive reviews.

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About the Author

Natalia is a creative writer at re:spondelligent. She is passionate about helping businesses manage and respond to their customer reviews and loves sharing her industry and marketing knowledge to help brands succeed.