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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development

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Top Reasons You Should Respond to Negative Reviews

There are two sides to every story. We live in a world where the customer is not always right. However, we know first-hand that it is ingrained into our minds that, well, “the customer is always right.” This is a slippery slope that leads to us chasing the customer that costs us thousands of dollars. The one that leaves hateful, irrelevant reviews.

That negative review though can also have a damaging effect on the brand. However, in retrospect, the customer will also look at your average rating. Sure there may be some instances where you have an off day. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respond to the review, and close the issue!

Here are the top reasons you should respond to a negative review:

  • Dealerrater suggests that responding to negative reviews can help remove a ⅓ of them! While this isn’t all of them every bad review deleted is good!

  • Responding to a negative review shows you care and are willing to try and rectify the situation. A simple yet efficient manner to respond to a negative review would be to say “Mr. Customer - I am sorry that we did not meet your expectations. We strive for excellence in customer service. We missed the mark, and I would like to see if we can make things right. Please call me @.” You can even provision a recorded line so that when the customer calls back, you can keep track of how situations are handled. And how many customers call you back.

  • There are some instances where the customer blatantly lies in their review. In this case, the best way to handle the review is of course not calling them a liar, but rather offering “Mr. Customer, we offer excellent customer service. And I am sorry that we were not able to meet your expectations. We appreciate your input and are pleased that we did (insert services) within (time frame). We try our best to avoid these instances, and are truly sorry you feel this way.” This is not always going to work. But if their demands/rants are that absurd it only makes them stick out. Not you.

Bottom line, we want to protect our brand image. There will be times where we dropped the ball, and in those instances, humility can go a long way. Not responding to the review at all, however, can also show that we are not proactive or worse that you ignore issues.

As mentioned above, if you have 1,200 gleaming reviews one bad one is not going to destroy your image. But a bad review is a bad review. And if they start accumulating customers only read the first page usually. In fact, most people will also sort the reviews looking at both the “best & worst” reviews.

That said if s/he only sees a bunch of negative instances they might not visit your service lane. And if they do - they might have a bias preconceived notion that they might have an issue, which starts you off on the wrong foot!

How do you respond to negative reviews? Do you find that it helps or in some cases, the customer deletes their negative review?


Related resource: Act, Don't React, to Negative Online Reviews

No one wants a bad review, and today you can't really afford getting them.  But I totally agree with you that when one does come thru it's always better to take responsibility for it by at least offering to make things right!

Derrick Woolfson

Especially the Yelp reviews. I still do not understand how they can get away with "not recommending" your positive reviews? 

Kristopher Nielsen

Derrick - Yelp will say again and again that they're not holding back good reviews unless someone advertises, but they definitely don't follow ethical business practices. We've found that the best strategy is to ask lots and lots of customers to write reviews and eventually enough "stick".

Derrick Woolfson

@Kristopher, it certainly is odd. I simply do not understand why they'd not 'recommend' a raving review? I guess there is such a thing as a customer being "too happy" about their experience ha-ha. 

Kristopher Nielsen

I think they are trying to protect their ecosystem of "Yelpers" and magnify the views of frequent reviewers over others.

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