Dealing with a Bad Review

For today’s ecommerce retailers, negative reviews just come with the territory.

In fact, with so many built-in, on-site rating and review features, many even invite them right in.

And that’s a good thing.

Good and bad reviews on public forums can make and break your brand - but how you respond to them can be equally significant.

Many brands tend not to reply to any review, regardless of its sentiment, and they're missing out. Every review is an opportunity to learn about how you conduct your business, who your audience is, and offers the chance to build long-term relationships with customers, whether their comments were full of praise or not so kind.

In today’s highly digital, super transparent society, simply ignoring a bad review is no longer an option. In fact, it can actually make matters worse. But just responding in itself isn’t enough. What you say, how you say it and even when you post that response all matter, too.

The following figures underline the importance of online reviews:

•A third of customers post online following inadequate customer service, sharing comments about your brand to their network and beyond 

• 88% of people read reviews to determine the quality of a local business 

• 87% of people say that a business need a rating of 3-5 stars before they will use them.

• 52% of customers expect to hear back from brands within 7 days of giving an online review, particularly one    that's negative or critical. 

• 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business 

• When a brand responds to a customer on social media, 65% are more brand loyal and 25% percent are less      likely to go somewhere else or post negative things

Do you have a bad review to respond to? Then heed these rules:

1. Be authentic:

Customers want to know it’s an actual human responding to them — not a bot or IFTTT mechanism. Try to be as authentic as possible in your replies, and keep the marketing speak and jargon out of the equation.

Keep it real, conversational and honest, and your customer will appreciate it.

2. Think of future customers:

If a potential customer were to read that bad review, what concerns would they have? That their order will arrive late? That their food will be bad? That the products won’t work or the clothes won’t fit?

Find a way to address these issues in your response and set potential customers’ worries at ease.

3. Be sympathetic:

Empathize with the customer’s complaints. Saying “I’m sorry” or “I understand” can go a long way in making a customer feel like their opinion is valid (and valued).

To take it one step further, you can even make recommendations for a better experience next time around:

“I’m sorry you found your XX purchase too expensive. I’d love to get you on our email list to let you know about our upcoming sales and specials!”

4. Keep it polite:

It’s important to take the high road when responding to negative reviews. Even if a customer posts a low-blow, try to keep your response polite, civil and aimed at the problem at hand: the customer’s dissatisfaction.

5. Contact the customer offline:

Once you’ve responded publicly online, make an effort to contact the customer personally to prove it’s not all for show. Send them a message on Yelp, email their Google address or call them up to see how you can make it right.

This sort of extra-mile effort may even encourage them to come back and change their review or post a new one.

You should also take steps to counteract the negative reviews with positive ones.

You can end send out emails to past customers with a link right to your page. The more good reviews you have, the less important that negative one will look.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews on Social Media

People who have a negative experience are more likely to tell their friends and family about it - they'll hear it both in person and when the review is shared online. Meanwhile, anyone who visits your social page will be able to see that one-star rating and use it as an indicator as to whether they'll pay you a visit or steer clear.

Choosing not to reply and hoping that the issue will blow over is not recommended - responding in the correct manner to a bad review can be a way to heal the hurt feelings of an upset customer and to help them and others see your brand in a positive light again.

Picking up on individual keywords within a negative review is a really good way to think about formulating a personalized reply and encouraging a more positive outcome.

• Write a short, non-confrontational reply that shows that you've read and understood the issue(s) raised, even if they're unfounded. Be specific and acknowledge the customer's concerns; show sympathy that they        had a bad experience.

• Sincerely apologize for the upset caused offer to make things right.

• Thank the customer for their visit and taking the time to provide feedback.

• Reassure them by explaining how the issue has been, or will be, resolved for the future. As a sweetener, you could offer a discount or freebie to welcome them back next time.

• Avoid including your business name and location in the reply, so that the negative review is less likely to be prioritized (and found) in search engines.'

Example Response of Positive review

Hi [Customer Name], We're so pleased that you enjoyed [something specific customer mentioned in their review], everyone at [business name] was so proud to hear such wonderful comments! Next time you're here, you should try the [insert a feature or special], or join us for [upcoming event]. Thanks for leaving the positive review, I hope to see you again soon. Regards, [Business Name / Manager / Owner].

How to Respond to Neutral Reviews on Social Media

Research by Brandify found that, on average, neutral reviews make up half of all reviews received by retail brands, but only a fraction of these actually receive a reply. Neutral reviews give your brand the chance to nurture a part-satisfied customer into feeling more positive about your brand and more likely to visit you again in future.

According to the Harvard Business School, a one-star improvement on Yelp can translate to a 5-9% revenue increase.

Neutral reviews (three star rating) will include a mixture of positive and negative sentiment. Whether the negative portion is concerned, you should treat it in your response it as if it was a one star review. While the feedback might not be wholly positive, take the time to respond. Doing so shows that you genuinely appreciate customer feedback and are eager to seek their full approval in future.

• If the customer has highlighted a problem to which you know the solution, thank the customer for their feedback and explain how you aim to improve service in future.

• Like with a negative review, don't be afraid to offer a coupon or discount to entice them back. Alternatively, you can remind the customer of new products, offerings, or events in the pipeline that may be the perfect      time to invite them to try you again - and to prove that you can meet their full expectations.

I hope this post has given you some notes to consider in dealing with all types of reviews on social media, and how to turn any type of customer feedback into an opportunity to grow engagement and brand loyalty

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