Positive reviews are important.

The Internet has opened up a whole world of opportunity for sellers and buyers alike. For the buyers this means more choice than ever before — but also more risk. 

Purchases made online don’t always live up to expectation. An alluring photograph and a persuasive piece of copy can leave us feeling deceived and disappointed if the reality falls short.

This is where online reviews come in. They give the buyer social proof and confidence in what they’re about to buy.

According to G2:

⭐️ 95% of buyers read online reviews before making a purchase.
⭐️ 72% of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews.
⭐️ 97% of shoppers say reviews influence their buying decisions.

And according to Qualtrics:

⭐️ 94% say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business. 
⭐️ 80% of consumers have changed their minds about a recommended purchase after reading negative online reviews.

But negative reviews are not always a bad thing.

As the saying goes, you can’t please all of the people, all of the time. Some people will always find things to complain about — and those things may not always be your fault. 

Like the holidaymakers who give their hotel a poor review if bad weather spoils their holiday!

Some negative reviews, however, highlight problems you may not have been aware of. You can turn these into positive improvements that will benefit all your customers.

95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews if they don’t see bad scores. [Source: G2]

Why you should respond to negative reviews.

Your response to a negative review will satisfy three main requirements:

  1.  It will satisfy the reviewer that their issue(s) have been looked into
  2.  It will show that you care what your customers think
  3.  It will reassure potential customers who are reading the negative review.
89% of consumers read the replies to reviews.
70% of consumers changed their opinion about a brand after the company replied to a review.
[Source: G2]

How to respond to a negative review.

1. Respond in good time.

A negative review could be the first thing a potential customer sees, so it’s important to make your response a priority. However, it’s also worth bearing in mind that no response is better than the wrong response.

2. Take the review seriously.

When you write your response you need to do so from an informed perspective. 

So, take the time to investigate what has been alleged — even if you instinctively feel that it is wrong or unjustified. 

3.  Never write while you are angry.

If the reviewer has angered you by writing something that you feel is unfair or untrue, avoid the temptation to respond straight away.

What’s needed here is a collected and measured response. Sounding calm and reasonable in the face of a reviewer rant will make you look like the bigger person.

Sleep on it or take some time away from it and get your thoughts into perspective before you put fingers to keyboard.  

4. Note the points the reviewer has raised and address each one.

⭐️ Acknowledge the criticism.

This is not an acceptance of the criticism, but it shows that you understand the point the reviewer has made. For example:

“We are sorry to hear you had problems with …”

“Thank you for bringing … to our attention.”

“We understand you had an issue with …”

⭐️ Show that you have investigated the issue.

For example:

“We have looked into …”

“The problem was caused by …”

“We have spoken with the member of staff involved …”

⭐️ Give a constructive response.

For example:

“We have taken your suggestion on board and …”

“The problem has now been resolved.”

“Unfortunately, this was due to circumstances beyond our control.”

⭐️ Apologise, if necessary, and make amends.

For example:

“Please accept our sincere apologies for …”

“As a gesture of goodwill, we have …”

“We hope this incident will not deter you from using our services again.”

Need some help?

I’m Jenny Lucas a freelance copywriter with experience of responding to unhappy customers on my clients’ behalf.

If you need to respond to a complaint or review — no matter how challenging it may seem — why not contact me and see how I can help?

You can find out more about me and my work at my website.