How to deal with negative reviews… and how not to.

No one likes getting negative feedback, but, unfortunately sometimes problems occur – no matter what the issue or who your company is; someone, somewhere will have experienced a problem with your service at some point. It’s how you react that is important; Dealing with a negative review poorly can be much, much more damaging to your company than actually receiving it…

Don’t:Dealing with negative customer reviews

  • Launch into a tirade against the reviewer (‘this customer was a nightmare/ didn’t read the small print/ is a nasty piece of work’ are some of the responses we receive!) How do you think this makes your company look to potential new customers?
  • Use your response as an opportunity to blame everyone else for the problem.
  • Deny there was a problem or try to discredit the reviewer.
  • Demand that the review is removed as this may only serve to further aggravate the reviewer and if they are a genuine customer their feedback is valid.
  • Believe that only a string of 5 star reviews is useful to you as a business.
  • Refuse to be drawn into any form of discussion. At the very least a response containing an apology, your contact details and an offer to privately discuss their views reflects well on your business.
  • Underestimate the value of consumer reviews; whether positive or negative, they can be a vital tool for improving your business and should be treated as such.

Do:

One negative review, dealt with in a professional manner can be worth much more than a string of glowing reviews – which can feel slightly unrealistic and doesn’t show potential new customers how problems are dealt with when they come up… which they will, whether due to technical issues, contractor issues or just plain old human error.

If you have any questions about responding to reviews or managing your online reputation, please get in touch.

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4 Responses to How to deal with negative reviews… and how not to.

  1. Thanks for the post!

    Advice like this is surprisingly valuable right now, as there are still too many recent examples of dealing with negative feedback in a totally wrong manner. (e.g. http://alaskaairhatesfamilies.blogspot.com/2010/11/our-story.html )

    I guess this comes down to companies not fully understanding how social media works, and how much power they actually wield on someone else’s (the audiences) court. Not a lot, really. Brand reputation managers cannot control what is being said, but sometimes they still try, and this usually results in a bigger negative exposure than would have with alternate methods of engagement.

    And this is exactly what we need, new alternative tactics for dealing with negative feedback. As you have pointed out, there are quite a few ways of being civil, truthful and being thoroughly respectable even if the feedback is not always of the expected kind.

  2. Tobias Moster says:

    Very good article!

    From the point of view of a customer I totally agree that if a company makes an effort and deals with negative feedback in a good and professional way, they gain respect. And if this happens publicly on a platform like ReviewCentre, there’s a real chance for the company to campaign for themselves and win new customers. Personally, I would reconsider a company or a service if my complaint / feedback was dealt with in a positive way.

  3. Pingback: Negative feedback: ‘What are we going to do now?!’

  4. evasyb says:

    This is not a good article!

    I have an holiday rental flat : I really hate this new form of rating.
    Most of the time reviewers leave very unfair and dishonest comment about your business , just because they want to black mail you.
    Either you give them some money back ,either you’ve got to admit a bad commentary on your business.

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