Whether you’re a business or a customer, you’ve probably come across hundreds of negative reviews and comments online related to products, services, and brands. Negative feedback and criticism are quite common as no brand can ensure 100% satisfaction or reliability.
Leaving things unaddressed can cause negative commentary to pile up and reach the top of search results, trends on social media, and other forums. Complacency, apathy, or hesitation in such situations can have real consequences for your online traffic, sales, and revenue.
According to a survey by Bright local, an online consumer reads approximately 10 reviews before determining whether or not they can trust a brand. Therefore, you need to ensure that mentions, conversations, and social commentary are positive as they influence brand perception.
A key part of keeping online conversations about your business or brand positive is learning how to respond to negative online reviews and comments.
Responding to Negative Online Feedback and Criticism – 4 Steps
Here are four steps to responding to negative comments and reviews online by online reputation management experts at RMG Digital Solutions:
1. Respond Quickly
In the business world, time is money, especially when addressing negative feedback online. Yes, you probably have a list of pending tasks or things to do when running your daily operations. However, delaying your response can easily escalate the issue further. Therefore, you should quickly read bad reviews and devise an action plan to address and suppress the issue.
2. Acknowledge the Customer Feedback and Thank Them for It
Whether you’re a startup or industry veteran, it’s natural for you to feel attacked when customers say bad things about your business when you’ve worked tirelessly to build it from the ground up. Watching your ratings slide and social media pages flooding with negative comments can be frustrating.
However, you need to realize that you can’t ensure 100% customer satisfaction. Therefore, you need to cool down and keep your emotions in check while reading their feedback. More importantly, you need to acknowledge their criticism and respond. Not doing so will make them perceive you don’t care about your customers.
Moreover, when you respond, start by thanking them for dedicating the time to reach out to you. This will foster a positive impression in the initial phase of your response.
3. Apologize & Empathize
Once you’ve acknowledged and thanked your grieving customer, you need to issue an apology for the negative experience. You don’t have to beat fault to say sorry. Defending your brand or product and arguing with them will only worsen things. Taking the high road is an essential aspect of quality customer service and plays a huge role in customer retention and satisfaction.
4. Take Responsibility and Offer a Solution
No customer wants to settle for an apology or excuses. They want an explanation and a solution. Therefore, you should take the high moral ground whenever possible, even if you’re not responsible for the poor experience. A customer-centric approach can help you transform from making one-time sales to retaining customers long-term even after negative reviews.
For instance, if a customer receives a faulty product or isn’t satisfied with the quality of materials or delivery time, you can provide them with an explanation regarding what could have gone wrong. More importantly, you can quickly change the product and offer something on top of it to make up for their inconveniences, such as a freebie or discount.
By demonstrating the human side of doing business and rewarding customers following their poor experiences, you can do wonders for your online reputation.
So, there you have it – how to respond to negative online reviews, comments, and feedback in 4 simple steps. However, there’s much more to online reputation management than addressing negative criticism.
RMG Digital Solutions is a leader in SEO branding and reputation enhancement. We have the tools, expertise, and solutions to transform your online reputation using powerful SEO, social media, and PR strategies. Feel free to get in touch with us and let us devise a tailored solution for you.