3 Tips for Responding to Negative Online Reviews

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By Carol Duke

Negative online reviews are a bane in today’s e-commerce retailers and business owners. However, just ignoring them is no longer an option. In fact, doing so can only make matters worse for your business.

According to a 2018 local consumer review survey, 57% of consumers said that they would only buy from an online shop if it has no less than a 4-star rating which means it’s more important than ever for business owners to maintain a stellar online reputation. Therefore, keeping negative online reviews to a minimum is a must.

Merely responding to negative feedback isn’t enough. Your response, how you say it, and even the timing of your response, all matter, too. Below are some useful tips on how to properly deal with negative online reviews and hopefully turn an angry customer into a happy one who would be willing to change their opinion about your brand.

Learn to understand them

Before responding to a negative review, try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes first. Learn to empathize. These people who left negative feedback are just like you, wanting to see their expectations met. Naturally, if those expectations are not met, disappointment will follow.

Don’t take these negative reviews personally. Instead, be thankful that they’ve taken their time to respond to your services. This is the perfect opportunity to show them that there’s a real person behind the business – one who understands their problem.

Provide appropriate compensation

For many people, nothing could be worse than a horrible customer experience and having the company brush it off as if nothing happened. For them, this has cost them time, money, or both.

For David Anderson, founder of IHateWritingEssays.com online reviews platform, a good businessman is one who is willing to go above and beyond by compensating or incentivizing customers. This helps improve their experience with the business, giving them a reason to purchase from them again.

It’s true that apologizing goes a long way, but a 10% special discount on their next purchase is a much better incentive for them to consider buying from you again. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, it could mean the difference between a one-time customer and a loyal customer.

Deal with the matter offline

Unfortunately, not many people like to pick up the phone and call companies anymore. Based on a survey, roughly 75 percent of today’s consumers believe it’s time-consuming to reach a customer rep on the phone. More and more people are turning to social media and review websites to voice their opinions and provide customer feedback – be it positive or negative. This is because they expect instant response online. What’s more, many individuals like this sort of public forum because it attracts attention from other people.

One thing you need to remember is that, once you respond to a negative online review, everything you say to that customer is there for everyone to see. That said, you don’t want to lash out on that customer online.

A better way to handle these attention-seekers is to simply take the matter offline. Let them know you’ve seen their feedback and then ask them to call you personally so you can solve the issue. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’ll call you back. What’s important is that anyone who sees the discussion online knows that you attempted to rectify the situation, and this could strengthen people’s trust in your business.

There’s no such thing as a business that gets nothing but positive reviews. After all, nothing’s perfect in this world. Responding to negative online reviews may not be easy, but doing so calmly and professionally is part of upholding your business’ reputation. It may seem unfair sometimes, but it’s important never to ignore negative reviews. Instead, you need to prepare yourself for them.

About the Author 

Carol Duke is very keen on teaching students new, effective ways of learning. When not freelancing and blogging on marketing-related matters, Carol enjoys traveling, taking immense pleasure from visiting new countries.

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