All companies are exposed to negative comments from their customers. A service that has not met their expectations, a product that has arrived defective, a delivery that has not been delivered on time? Unforeseen events that you have to know how to deal with to minimize the possible damage of these criticisms on the online reputation of any business.
Tips for responding to negative reviews
Negative reviews are more credible than positive reviews and are better rated by consumers before making a purchase.
Some 60% of consumers trust reviews with negative ratings more, as these opinions bring credibility, according to a recent survey by Territory Influence. Moreover, 94% expect a response, either in the form of improved service, a discount or a sincere apology.
For this reason, you need to know how to handle negative reviews properly, as the consequences of ignoring them can give the impression that you don’t care about your customers or that you’re too busy to notice.
In addition, negative reviews on Google My Business are an element to take care of, as it affects your SEO ranking. So, take note of the following tips:
Be polite, honest and apologize
We can all make mistakes at some point, so don’t hesitate to admit your mistakes publicly and take responsibility. As soon as possible, apologize if a mistake has been made and explain to your customer what has happened in full transparency.
It is also important to put yourself in their shoes as a consumer and understand their discomfort to avoid falling into accusations or belittling them. You should not see it as a criticism, but as an opportunity to learn and improve, so thank them for sharing their experience.
Provide a solution to their problem
Keep in mind that you are not only responding to a specific person, but to anyone else who reads the complaint in the future, who would like to know what your company would do if they had the same experience.
You can answer what you are going to do to prevent it from happening again and if you are going to offer any kind of compensation, in the form of a discount, gift, etc. You should make it clear that their bad experience was a one-time occurrence that will not happen again.
However, before responding, meet with the professionals involved to get their version of events, since most complaints are usually directed to a specific department of the company (customer service, after-sales, etc.).
Refer it to an internal channel
Since the first response is usually of a public nature, don’t try to respond in detail. Address the customer by name and try to give a short answer. Then refer them to other internal channels (email or call) to give them more details to reach the final resolution of their problem.
Also, in your public response, do not publish personal data that are not in the original review because you could violate data protection regulations. When you talk to the affected person privately, you can ask them for all the information necessary to follow up on their case.
Mark a fake review as inappropriate
If you are absolutely sure that the content of a certain review is false and does not focus on the product or service of your business (due to confusion or intentional trolls), you can request its removal from the platform, marking it as inappropriate or reporting the publication. You can take a look at Google’s policies on banned content and Facebook’s community standards.
However, it is important that before reporting it, you respond to it to let it be known that it may be false. So, in case the platform decides not to delete it, it will remain visible on your profile forever. Thank the comment and clarify the lies or inaccuracies, if any.
Don’t miss our previous post on Tips for responding to positive reviews that will help you to complement this post and improve the management of all reviews of your business, whether positive or negative.
If you need help with your digital strategy or with the management of your business reviews, please contact us. At Nementio we will be happy to give you a hand.