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How to Respond to a Negative Online Review in 5 Steps

How to respond to negative online reviews - negative google reviews, negative facebook reviews - social media marketing Newmarket

Now, more than ever, the public’s opinions are seen, heard and can spread like wildfire online.  This can be great for positive comments. However, 1 negative review can haunt you and your business if you don’t take care of it right away and in the right way.  I am going to show you the 5 steps to respond to a negative online review.

Almost everyone remembers or has heard about the Tylenol Scandal of 1982.  7 people in Chicago died after taking Tylenol pills laced with cyanide.  It was predicted that this would be the end of Tylenol forever.  However, by putting the concerns of the public ahead of their profit margin, they were actually able to increase their revenue.

They recalled 31 million bottles from shelves and replaced them free of charge with new capsules in tamper-proof packaging.  Before this, no company had ever recalled a product, and it certainly would not have replaced them with the new version at no cost to those retailers.

Tylenol handled this issue right away and in the right way to become one of the most recognized and respected brands.

Here are the 5 steps to respond in the right way:

  1. Always respond.  Customers may misinterpret your silence as meaning that you do not care about their opinion.
  2. Respond as soon as possible. Firstly, make sure you give yourself enough time to properly form your response.  Don’t respond in the heat of the moment and say something you can’t take back.
  3. That being said, don’t respond with a generic message. When working with small businesses, customers truly appreciate that they can communicate directly with the business owner.
  4. Acknowledge their pain, and try to offer some sympathy and/or compensation. Acknowledge that they have experienced something unpleasant and apologize that they feel this way. If you choose to compensate them, you can offer them further examination of the issue or even a discount on their next product/service.
  5. Follow up. If you have not heard anything after your response, gently follow up to see if there is anything further you can do to try to rectify the situation.  This step is critical and in some cases can change a negative review into a positive one.

Transparency is Key in Dealing with Negative Online Reviews

I highly recommend replying on the same public form as this allows other potential customers to see how your company handles these situations.  Transparency is key when dealing with negative reviews about your business.

Remember, it is hard to remove negative reviews/experiences once they are posted online, and that’s why it is critical to handle it in a personal and professional manner right away.

We all like to think we are perfect, but the truth is that we can always learn something new.  What other strategies does your business use to respond to negative customer experiences?

For more tips like these check out our blog or you can follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn. Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter as well for more education and inspiration!


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