How To Respond To Negative Feedback? (11 Best Tips)

respond to negative feedback

No matter how well-established your business is in the market, negative feedback from a customer always hits where it hurts the most. It hurts more if the negative online reviews are left publicly.

What is your strategy for tackling such an adverse situation? Would you respond to the negative review or simply shut your eyes to it?

Should you connect with the negative reviewer and learn about the factors that caused the dissatisfaction or let the customer go? Well, when grappling with negative online reviews, the worst thing to do is ignore them.

Since we assume you will respond to negative feedback, this post serves as a guide to help you make the right choices and turn negative reviews into an opportunity to gain more customers.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Let’s get started.

Table of contents
Why do customers leave negative online reviews?
Impact of negative reviews on your business
Why should you respond to negative feedback?
11 best tips to respond to negative feedback
1. Use “sorry” and “apologize” appropriately
2. Time is of the essence
3. Consistency is key (negative or positive reviews)
4. It’s never personal (well almost)
5. Always introduce yourself
6. Reviewing takes time, thank them first
7. Double down on authenticity
8. Offer discounts or refunds
9. Follow up offline
10. Stick to company values
11. Always empathize

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Why do customers leave negative online reviews?

Before we get into the reasons why customers might leave negative feedback, let’s acknowledge the fact that most unhappy customers wouldn’t even consider reviewing your products and services.

These are customers who wouldn’t want to waste their time explaining to you why they felt disappointed with your brand.

Now what about the customers that go all the way to express their dissatisfaction? Well, these customers provide you with an opportunity to self-reflect.

More than that, such customers leave feedback in anticipation of someone from your team reaching out to them and learning more about their bad customer experiences.

Regardless of the industry you are in, some of the most common reasons why customers leave negative feedback are unreliable products or services, poor usability and support, slow responses, false promises, dishonesty, and unreasonably expensive pricing.

As a business owner, you should carefully assess these factors because they show that your target audience cares about them. Your customers expect to be treated respectfully and provided with the best customer experience.

In other words, taking your customers for granted will almost always result in churn. Therefore, we highly recommend you use this opportunity to thank the customers leaving negative reviews.

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Impact of negative reviews on your business

Negative reviews can be detrimental to your business’s success. This is because they impact several aspects of a business. Here are a few ways negative reviews can cause problems for your company —

1. You may lose potential customers

Studies say that people trust and consider online reviews while making new purchases.

Not only that, people look for positive reviews when they want to work with a local business. In other words, negative reviews for one company are a massive business opportunity for the other.

2. Negative reviews hurt brand reputation

Customers leaving negative feedback are not afraid to share their experiences. They use the space to let the world know how much you care about customers.

The higher the number of negative reviews, the more the decline in customer loyalty and trust in your brand.

3. May affect search engine ranking

Companies with more negative reviews will find it hard to rank on Google. However, having only a few negative reviews can add some authenticity to your brand.

After all, too many positive reviews on your profile might make your brand come off as too good to be true.

4. Makes it difficult to collaborate

To boost your company’s name in the market, you might want to collaborate with other brands or influencers. However, companies will be more willing to work with brands that have a positive market image.

Negative reviews might hold you back, especially if you want to make the most of marketing tactics like influencer marketing, UGC marketing, and more.

Why should you respond to negative feedback?

There are several reasons why you must respond (strategically) to negative feedback. Here we have discussed a few in brief.

1. Opportunity to address prospects

Since the negative reviews will be available online, your potential customers are going to read them and develop a perception of your brand. If you reply to the negative feedback with utmost perfection, chances are that the prospects will get to learn more about your company and make better decisions.

2. Shows you care

This is a no-brainer. We know it’s difficult to handle a negative review as it directly impacts a company’s online reputation management.

However, manning up and dealing with the negative feedback head-on shows that you care what your customers have to say. Your response is a reflection of how much you prioritize delivering an excellent customer experience.

3. Response impacts online reputation

As a company, you want to ensure an impeccable online profile. This can be achieved through effective online reputation strategies.

Responding to negative feedback on review sites and platforms can help improve your online reputation as it shows that you are listening to your customers and care about your brand image across the web.

4. Boosts SEO

If search engine optimization is one of your key online marketing strategies, you’ve got to use negative reviews to your advantage.

We suggest you respond to the negative reviews using your primary and secondary keywords. Make sure you respond to all the reviews as Google counts the response as new content.

5. Shows you are a human too

We all make mistakes, don’t we? So, why shy away from admitting it? We highly recommend you approach the negative feedback response from a human standpoint.

Showing that you understand customers’ pain points and are working hard to ease them will make customers feel more comfortable with you.

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11 best tips to respond to negative feedback

Now that you are well-acquainted with the concept of responding to negative feedback, let’s learn some of the best ways you can approach negative review responses.

1. Use “sorry” and “apologize” appropriately

This is important because we tend to use both these terms interchangeably. However, there is a big difference.

When you apologize, you are essentially taking responsibility for the negative customer experience. When you say “sorry,” you are empathizing with the dissatisfied customer.

2. Time is of the essence

The timing of your response is a major factor. This is because most reviewers are anticipating a response from your end.

Once you know you have a negative review, set aside time to address it quickly. Never put off a response as the time stamp on your response will show how much you care.

3. Consistency is key (negative or positive reviews)

You have got to be consistent with how you deal with the negative reviews.

The ideal thing to do is to respond almost always and not leave negative/positive reviews unattended. Remember, you are not just responding to one customer. You are responding to thousands of customers reading the reviews.

4. It’s never personal (well almost)

Never make the mistake of taking negative feedback personally, even if the review feels like a personal attack. The customer doesn’t know you personally, so you should stay calm and professional while replying.

This is an opportunity to show how well you handle dissatisfied customers.

5. Always introduce yourself

Build a connection through the negative review. When responding, try introducing yourself, especially if you are the business owner. Indeed, this prospect is quite unrealistic. But, you can always reply to the review on the company’s behalf.

6. Reviewing takes time, thank them first!

It does take time. The dissatisfied customer must have searched for the right space to share the negative review and must have thoughtfully put together words to address their dissatisfaction.

Not many discontented customers would do that. Thank them for helping you identify loopholes in your business operations.

7. Double down on authenticity

Authenticity makes your response feel distinct and well-thought-out. Modern-day customers are smart and can sense when you put effort into communicating with them.

Add authenticity to your response by addressing reviewers by their names, thanking them, and humanizing the interaction.

8. Offer discounts or refunds

This negative feedback response tactic can be used as a solution, especially to ease tension and bring the dissatisfied customer on talking terms.

Offer a discount or refund to the customers and in return ask the customer for a testimonial. However, we strongly suggest you not make this a practice.

9. Follow up offline

No matter how much you put effort into writing a solid negative feedback response, it can never match the impact of an offline follow-up. Connect with the negative reviewer and schedule a meeting to learn more about the issues.

10. Stick to company values

If your company has a set standard, values, and morals, always try to put them in your response. Briefly mention how much you care about delivering positive customer experiences and that you take negative reviews very seriously.

Most importantly, mention that this action is integral to your company’s set of values.

11. Always empathize

All your responses to negative reviews should come from empathy. When writing a response, make sure you let reviewers know that you have gone through their issues and completely understand their problems.

We suggest you not be defensive but show that you care about the customers’ problems.

review response, excellent customer service, customer experience

Some negative review response examples

Before concluding this guide, let’s go through some of the examples and ways one can respond to negative feedback.

1. Example for restaurant owners

Restaurant businesses will have to respond to positive and negative reviews related to food complaints, service and staff complaints, unpleasant atmosphere complaints, and more. Here is an example you may use when responding to negative feedback —

Thank you for your feedback, [Customer Name].

We are sorry that you had such a bad experience at our restaurant. We always try to give our all when it comes to ensuring excellent customer satisfaction, but sometimes things happen out of our control.

If there’s anything else we can help you with, please feel free to let us know!

2. Example for healthcare professionals

Healthcare professionals or organizations can receive a negative online review associated with a plethora of issues.

However, a large percentage of negative customer feedback comes as customer service complaints, organizational or communication complaints, appointment booking complaints, and issues related to lack of professionalism.

Here’s an example of how you can respond to negative reviews —

Dear [Customer Name],

We are sorry to hear about your experience.

Our team clearly missed out on handling your case with the utmost professionalism, and we assure you that we will take stringent action to ensure such inconveniences never happen in the future. We really appreciate you taking the time to share feedback about our customer service.

Please feel free to share more information related to the incident as our representative will reach out to you soon.

Thank you.

3. Example for real estate professionals

Real estate firms and professionals will generally receive negative reviews related to the listing, communication, lack of transparency in the process, and more.

Here’s how we recommend you respond to such negative feedback —

Hi [Customer Name],

We are sorry to hear about your experience at our firm and that you were let down by our broker.

We take this incident very seriously and are conducting an investigation to understand and ensure such inconveniences never happen again. We are sorry that we did not meet your expectations.

Our representative will reach out to you soon to learn more about the incident.

Thank you.

Final thoughts

There you have it. We have shared everything you need to know about responding to negative customer reviews online.

Although this guide provides practical solutions and tactics for tackling negative feedback, you should never forget that the person leaving the negative review is a human.

It’s only because your products and services didn’t serve the person properly that he/she decided to leave a negative review. In other words, it is an opportunity to learn more about your target audience and identify gaps in your offerings.

We’d love to know how you deal with negative feedback your customers leave online. Let us know in the comments!

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