How to Deal With negative customer reviews

Amio Galib
Jun 20, 2021

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If you’re looking to buy something online from a vendor you don’t have prior experience with, there is a high probability that you will turn to customer reviews for more information. In fact, 91% of online shoppers actively read reviews, and 84% of them find these reviews trustworthy.

When it comes to spending, consumers are likely to spend 31% more with retailers that have outstanding reviews than companies with mediocre ones. And more than 85% of online shoppers avoid purchasing from entities that have received a significant number of negative reviews.

But, even if your business is on top of all emerging challenges, not all customers can be satisfied. And, of course, dissatisfied customers can post negative reviews, which can affect your brand reputation. Under such circumstances, taking some strategic measures can serve as a means of redemption.

This article will take you through some key measures you can use to deal with negative reviews. By the end, you will be equipped with the knowledge required to convert dissatisfied customers into satisfied ones. Here are the steps you should take.

Respond Quickly

Upset customers leave negative reviews as an impulse reaction to negative experiences. And, the longer you leave them hanging, the worse it will get. Leaving these reviews unattended will also deteriorate your credibility.

If you don’t want the problem to escalate, swift responses are highly recommended. Prompt responses reinforce your position as a responsible entity, while providing a sense of trust for potential customers.

Be Thoughtful

Generic responses like “we will look into the matter — thank you for shopping with us” don’t cut it anymore. You need to be thoughtful and appreciate the true value of customer feedback.

Negative reviews usually shed light on the pain points that customers experience when shopping with you. Addressing the problems minimizes the risk of dissatisfying prospective customers. Individuals who leave negative reviews should be appreciated for taking the time to point out your current shortcomings. Giving a compliment and providing a short description of how you plan to fix the problem can work wonders in this regard.

Be Honest

There is no shame in making mistakes. If you try to cover up your mistakes with lies, it might seem to work out initially, but eventually you will be exposed. Once that happens, the damage could become much worse and completely damage your reputation.

The best course of action is to be honest and accept your mistakes. Taking full responsibility for your shortcomings gives you the chance to grow as a business and make amends with dissatisfied customers.

Provide Offline Support

Things can sometimes get a bit overwhelming while dealing with aggrieved customers. Try not to make a spectacle out of it by discussing everything publicly. Instead, offer to resolve the issues offline, away from public view. Providing an email address or connecting them to a customer support representative could help.

Once everything is sorted out, you can post an update as a response to the negative review. Such responses could highlight your accountability towards your clients, which can often convert future visitors into paying customers.

Customize Your Responses

Providing a personal touch doesn’t hurt, especially when you’re dealing with customers you want to please. As 76% of all reviews are posted on either Facebook or Google, you will likely get access to the names of complaining customers. Address them by name when possible and make sure they feel valued for their feedback.

Besides thanking them for bringing the relevant issues to light, you should sympathize with them to ease their hardship. Showing that you are willing to take responsibility and provide a prompt solution is sure to help get them on your side again. Finally, asking for their continued patronage will make them feel valued.

Do Not Get Personal

Negative reviews can often be hard to digest. And, when customers are brutally honest, it’s quite normal to feel a bit overwhelmed. However, no matter what the circumstances are, you should never retaliate or get personal. Getting defensive could deteriorate the situation further.

Handle negative reviews professionally. Even if you feel the customer is out of line, you should never lose your cool. Always apologize for the inconvenience caused and try to decrease the customer’s anger. If apologies don’t work, try to provide solutions focusing on key concerns.

Address Misleading Reviews With Concrete Evidence

Sometimes negative reviews are posted out of spite. If you happen to come by such reviews, don’t get aggressive. Instead, try to use legitimate evidence to disprove their arguments. Taking the high road and asking these individuals to remove their malicious reviews could save your reputation and show future customers that you always want the best for them.

Encourage Satisfied Customers to Post Positive Reviews

One of the most effective ways to dilute negative reviews and improve your conversion rate is by encouraging people to leave more positive ones. If you can deliver on your promises, you will receive recognition from the majority. Encouraging them to post positive reviews could significantly overpower the negative ones

But it is important to remember that forcing customers to post reviews might be counterproductive. Taking a cordial approach or even providing small benefits could work as subtle motivators.

Offer Compensation, If Needed

Sometimes a few nice words might not be enough to address negative reviews. In such cases, offering compensation can do the trick.

You can compensate aggrieved customers by replacing the product, or offering free shipping for their next purchase. Whatever your approach might be, make sure that the customer is content with what you have to offer.

Actively Follow Up

Converting an aggrieved customer into a happy one could be a sign of success. But it will require you to follow up with the negative reviews they leave. When you follow up with a dissatisfied customer even after solving their problem, they’ll feel valued. And, if you exceed all expectations, the customer might even take down the negative review or change it into a positive one.

Take Appropriate Actions

Addressing all concerns might not always be possible. You need to determine the ones affecting the majority of your customers. Even for isolated events, try to provide a generalized solution that could address current and potential issues simultaneously.

Figuring out which issues to address can be a bit difficult. Nevertheless, if you can pick up on the cues left by negative reviews, the process becomes fairly easy. If a product lacks a particular feature, it is more likely to show up on the radar of vigilant consumers. Zeroing in on the issue will require you to monitor customer feedback closely.

Learn How Reviews and Ratings Work On Associated Sites

Each review website has a unique take on review rankings. Understanding the inner workings of these mechanisms can significantly enhance your effectiveness in addressing challenges.

Take Yelp, for example. Their algorithm prioritizes reviews based on user activity, reliability, and the quality of the content. These factors contribute to determining the relevance and usefulness of the reviews. Trip Advisor, on the other hand, ranks reviews with a star rating scale. Categorizing the reviews based on their number of stars makes it easier for customers to navigate through the whole spectrum.

Share Feedback With Relevant Personnel

Some solutions require more radical changes than incremental ones. In such cases, you need to get all of the relevant personnel on-board. Informing your employees will create awareness and help to ensure they’re going to welcome any necessary changes.

Keeping feedback from employees can render strategic measures ineffective. They will remain prone to repeating the mistakes due to a lack of correction. On the other hand, sharing feedback with your employees enhances the probability of inducing more creative solutions. It also helps to examine the problems from the ground up.

Surveil Your Online Reputation

If you intend to respond effectively, first, you must know when and where the customers are posting these reviews. More than 9 out of every 10 leaders say understanding the pain points of customers is crucial for business success. However, keeping track of all the data from customer reviews manually can be a bit of a chore. Review tracking tools like Social Mention and Google alerts can help in this endeavour.

You can also outsource the responsibility of managing your online presence to a third party operator. They will collect and provide you with the necessary data required to take adequate measures.

Be Polite

When dealing with customer reviews, always be polite because, at the end of the day, the customers don’t have much to lose. They will shift their patronage elsewhere. Your business, on the other hand, can lose recurring customers off the back of aggressive replies. Additionally, prospective customers might be discouraged from giving you their business if they feel uncomfortable with how you have dealt with past issues.

One of the most important traits of being polite is listening. Don’t restrict customers from expressing their concerns. No matter how harsh it might seem, give them the space to make their argument.

Ask Customers to Reconsider Their Feedback

Addressing concerns and compensating customers for the inconvenience solves only part of the issue. If the negative reviews persist even after reaching a solution, they could leave a lasting impact on prospective customers. To minimize such instances, you can ask clients to reconsider their reviews after their concerns are addressed.

When negative reviews are no longer consistent with the newfound experience, reasoning with the reviewer gets easier. With a bit of persuasion, they might remove the bad reviews or even replace them with outstanding ones.

Use Bad Reviews as Opportunities to Stand Out

Nothing is perfect, and it is quite normal to mess up sometimes. However, the mishaps do not determine the outcomes; your reactions to them do. If you take every bad review as an opportunity to make progress, things will turn out for the better.

Satisfactory customer service is not about perfection — it is about leveraging the available opportunity and making the most out of it. Doing so will help you develop a deeper relationship with the customer and facilitate your business goals.

Deliver On Your Promises

Don’t make promises that you can’t keep. Making a promise and failing to deliver shows irresponsibility and a lack of respect for your customers. Moreover, if the aggrieved individuals don’t receive the promised solutions, the situation might worsen.

Delivering on your promises shows integrity and helps to build strong relationships with your prospects. When you show that you care, customers will remain loyal and recommend your services to their peers.

Ask for Another Chance

Occasionally, you will face some unsolvable issues. Under such circumstances, all you can do is ask for a second chance.

By asking for a second chance, you will show humility and acknowledgement of the mishap at the same time. Such gestures often prove useful in swaying customers and helping to salvage your reputation.

Everything will not always go according to plan. Bad reviews are an inherent aspect of running a business, but you can overcome them if you stick to some textbook techniques.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know how to deal with negative reviews effectively, you should be able to handle most, if not all, of your aggrieved customers online. It is important to note that all reviews are important, but some reviews resonate more with the masses. Keep an eye out for such reviews, because the next one could give you the opportunity to shine.

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

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Written by Amio Galib on June 20, 2021

Amio Galib Chowdhury is the content marketing manager of WebAlive, an Australian web design and development company. Connect with him on Twitter.