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November 22, 2019

Negative Reviews? 5 Things Not To Do

A negative review can evoke disappointment, frustration, and even outrage. Before responding, learn the five things you should never do when dealing with an unhappy customer. 

The dreaded negative review. A one or two-star rating on your Google My Business or Facebook page can evoke disappointment, frustration, and even outrage.

Before responding, learn the five things you should never do when dealing with an unhappy customer. 

Ignore them

While there are a few exceptions to this rule, for the most part you should never ignore your reviews.

Doing so means that you are sacrificing an opportunity to protect your reputation or to earn back a customer’s trust. You may also be overlooking helpful feedback, one of the potential upsides of a negative review.

Although it can feel like a daunting task, monitoring and responding to reviews is vital for providing great customer service. 

Respond in anger

The internet has increased the speed of communication exponentially, making it that much easier to answer someone while you’re still angry. Take a breath before shooting back a retort to a negative review.

Even better, ask someone on your team to review your response or hire a service like Widewail to respond for you.

A third-party will ensure you aren’t baiting the reviewer or representing your company in a negative way. After all, review sites are a public forum and often the first impression you make on potential customers.

The last thing you want is to come off as aggressive or immature. 

Falsely accuse

Every business makes mistakes. Sometimes negative reviews will include honest criticism that you shouldn’t try to deny.

Unless you are absolutely certain that their claims are false, do not call the reviewer a liar. Being proven wrong on the internet will make you look much worse than simply accepting the feedback and apologizing.

Refusing to acknowledge the experience of your customers also sends the message that you don’t care about them. Leave your pride at the door, own up to mistakes, and use negative reviews as an opportunity to improve. 

Say sorry unnecessarily

On the flip side, there are certain reviews that don’t warrant an apology. Posts including spam or hate speech should be ignored or reported.

If a customer is blatantly lying or providing an inaccurate portrayal of what transpired during their visit to your store, you shouldn’t hesitate to share details that they may have conveniently left out.

Apologize for their frustration and then gently point out why their review is incorrect. While it’s unlikely that you will earn back their business, you are at least protecting your online reputation in the eyes of future readers and potential customers. 

Prolong the conversation

When responding to negative reviews your goal is to stop the conversation from continuing in public. The worst possible outcome is getting into an on-going dialogue with an outraged customer or provoking them to post additional comments on other review sites.

If you promise to follow up with a customer in your response, make sure to do so. If you’ve stated your side of the story and the reviewer continues to attack you, wish them well and move on.

Following the previous guidelines will help you take the necessary precautions to prevent reviews from getting out of hand.

Hey, Jane here. Thanks for reading. Next, I recommend Widewail's review response examples guide. The response team and I have responded to 270,000 reviews since Widewail's beginning. In that time we've developed, practiced, and perfected the techniques explained in this guide. Learn review response from 19 real-world examples, covering how you can handle 19 unique response scenarios. Download the Guide 👇

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Jane Garfinkel

I’m a New Jersey native who joined the Widewail team during my brief stint in Burlington. Now living in Jersey City, I currently serve as the Response Team Lead and Content Specialist. My background is in writing and my work has been published by Thrillist, Reductress, McSweeneys, The Rumpus, and more. I occasionally update my own blog No Meat, Some Potatoes, and in my free time I hang out with my dog Jake.

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