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How to Respond to Bad Reviews

How to Respond to Bad Reviews | Mikaela Parrick

Just one negative review has the power to damage your company’s reputation and therefore revenue.

In fact, it takes roughly 40 positive reviews to undo the damage of just one negative review.

On average, a dissatisfied customer will tell up to 15 people about their negative experience, with some telling as many as 20 people!

Meanwhile, a satisfied customer isn’t likely to leave a review at all.

According to Vendasta, over 78% of consumers trust online peer recommendations and reviews, while only 14% trust traditional advertising.

Here’s how to respond to scathing online reviews:

Tip #1 | Offer reparations.

To make up for any inconvenience, offer your customers reparations.

This can be in the form of coupons, free services, refunds, etc.



Even Airbnb, after numerous hosts’ homes were ransacked by guests, was able to soothe a few angry customers by offering them free stays and refunds.

Ask what you can do to help the situation and be prepared to give.

Tip #2 | Make your response personal and engaging.

Too many companies reply to negative reviews with the same old copy-and-paste response.

Show your customers that you care about them by writing a personalized response to every review and following up with the customer to see if you can rectify the situation.

If you’re able to do this successfully, the unhappy customer might even change or remove the negative review.

Tip #3 | Monitor your online presence.

Google your company every few weeks to see what people are saying.

Sign up for Google Alerts with your company’s name to get an alert every time your company shows up on the web.

This can give you a chance to do some damage control before things get out of hand and your company’s reputation tanks.

An easy way to manage your online reviews is to use a service likeCustomerLove.

CustomerLove alerts you when you get a new review and gives you a chance to respond to bad reviews before they’re posted for the world to see.

Tip #4 | Don’t write fake reviews.

Don’t even think about it.

Google and Yelp will penalize a company’s search rankings if they think you’re trying to cheat the system with fake reviews.

Basically, if your company starts getting tons of glowing reviews out of the blue, they will be flagged as suspicious and your company could be subject to repercussions.

Earlier this year, Yelp announced its new review solicitation policy which prohibits companies from asking their customers for reviews.

Google also now prohibits businesses from soliciting reviews from customers in bulk.

When a company only has positive reviews, the typical consumer will assume the reviews are fake or the company is hiding negative reviews from their customers.

Writing fake reviews is much more damaging than negative reviews and it’s simply not worth the risk.

Tip #5 | Be attentive.

Over 75% of consumer say that the most important thing companies can do to provide good service is to value their time.

Replying to complaints quickly and amicably is the simplest way to gain consumers’ trust.

According to Convince and Convert, replying to complaints quickly can increase customer advocacy by 25%.

Whatever the situation is, be sure you always respond to customer complaints as quickly as possible while doing everything you can to correct the issue.

Tip #6 | Honesty and transparency go a long way.

There are three main things people want in big brands:

  • Communicating honestly about products and services.
  • Not letting customers down
  • Acting with integrity at all times

So when you’re responding to negative reviews, always be honest and admit when you fucked up.

Then, do everything you can to fix it.

Tip #7 | Learn from your mistakes.

Don’t make the same mistake twice.

Companies that provide the best customer service devote lots of resources towards it, and it pays off.



In fact, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by up to 95%.

As Orlando Battista once said, “An error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”

Don’t think of a negative review as a failure.

Instead, look it as an opportunity to improve your relationship with your customers.

After all, if nobody took the time to write the review, the issue would still exist and may never be fixed.

Customers are a business’s greatest asset, so it’s in your best interest to take good care of them.

Posted in Best Practice, CX, Marketing, PR, Social Media
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