How to Make Bad Reviews Even Better for Business
Seeing your store’s first negative review is kind of like getting punched in the stomach. Your first instinct may be curl up in a corner, or jump in there and get a chance to defend yourself for goodness’ sake.
But despite how it feels, here’s the thing:
Bad reviews are good for business
Study after study confirms it. They add legitimacy to your business, give you an opportunity to flex your customer service muscles and show that you care and respect your customers’ input.
What the studies don’t tell you is that you can make a bad review even better for business with the right response. When written carefully, your business can not only repair its customer relations, but possibly win a life-long customer as well.
Here’s a six-step process for crafting the perfect response to a bad review:
1. Collect yourself, mentally and emotionally
Take a moment to get composed. Walk away, grab a cup of tea, do something relaxing, just don’t try to respond to the review right off the bat. Getting some distance will not only help you feel better, but it’ll also give you time to gather your thoughts.
2. Read their review thoroughly
Once it’s clear a customer is on the warpath, it can be easy to just skim the rest of their review. But even though it may be uncomfortable, try to thoroughly examine everything they say. Take note of each issue so you’ll be able to address them all in your response.
3. Apologize for their experience
It never hurts to let the customer know that you care. When a customer writes a bad review, they’re feeling some variation of hurt, betrayal and anger, and those aren’t feelings you want associated with your business. An apology can counteract those feelings by helping your customer feel listened to and understood.
4. Correct any misunderstandings
Despite the saying, customers aren’t always right. So if you see something inaccurate in a negative review, your response is a good place to gently correct them. For example, if the reviewer says something false about your business, use your response to respectfully correct them.
5. Offer to fix their problem
If there’s something you can do to make your reviewer happy, tell them what you’re going to do in your response, or offer to take the conversation to a more private medium where you can hash out the details. And after you’ve found a solution, don’t forget to follow through.
6. Respond in a timely manner
When it comes to responding to a bad review, time is of the essence. The longer a bad review goes unaddressed, the less your business seems to care. So try to respond within the first two days of getting a negative review. Even if you can’t solve their issue immediately, you can give them an update and let them know they’ve been heard.
You can make bad reviews work for you with the right approach. At the end of the day, we’re all human and we all make mistakes. We just have to remind our customers of that from time to time.
Gracelyn Tan is a member of the content marketing team at Volusion, the leading provider of ecommerce solutions for 40,000+ business owners. She writes for and manages the Ecommerce Authority, runs the guest blogging program and proofreads almost everything. You can follow her on Twitter @gracelynttan.