Eventually, it is going to happen – someone is going to leave you a bad review or leave a nasty comment on your Facebook page, on Google, or Yelp.
Now trust me, I’ve been there. I understand the slew of emotions that you are going to go through. There is confusion, anger, justification, anger, denial, anger, pretending not to care, then finally… more anger. It is natural to want to react to an angry customer right away and give them a piece of your mind. And while your response might go viral, it is more than likely just going to make the whole situation worse.
So how do you respond to negative reviews and comments?
So as a first step – walk away.
That’s right, read the review a few times, and get as far away from your phone and computer as soon as possible! Let yourself go through all the emotions and come back with a fresh head and mind later.
Next up, decide if a response is really necessary.
Sometimes, people on the internet can be a little… extreme. If the comment or review is vulgar, overly rude, or insulting there is nothing wrong with not responding and either deleting or reporting the review to have it removed. People like that just live to be angry and nothing you say will probably change their mind.
If the review is not particularly rude or mean, but rather they just had a bad experience, it definitely warrants a reply. Before you respond online, make sure to craft your response in a notepad or word document first. When you review it for typos and other errors, make sure you pay special attention to your tone. Is there anything that the individual could misunderstand? Is the tone friendly and understanding? Is your message clear?
Another good step to take when crafting your result is to put yourself in that individual’s shoes.
Take the time to really understand where they are coming from, what their experience was like, and why they feel the way that they do. Now, read your response again and ask yourself if you would be satisfied if you were them.
One major misconception people have about responding to poor comments and reviews its that you need to give the person something to make them feel better. While sometimes this is the best idea (poor dinner experience or a product was broken when purchased for example), most of the time all the other person wants is to be heard. Showing empathy and understanding the other person’s point of view if often enough to get the person to back down.
So why even respond to negative reviews at all? Why not try to have all of them deleted or removed from your page? The answer is simple – being authentic. Research shows that people are more suspicious of a company with all 5-star reviews then they are of a company that may only have a 4-star average. Having and responding to negative reviews shows you’re human, authentic, and you care about getting feedback from your customer – good or bad.
Again I am sure your business is fantastic and that the majority of the people who walk through your door or purchase your product totally love it, but there are going to be a few bad eggs. Knowing how to respond correctly to the criticism can go a long way with potential customers to show your honesty and ability to accept feedback in a gracious way.