respond-to-negative-reviewFact: People are five times more likely to post a user review when they are upset. This means that the Internet is full of negative reviews, and some of your most important traffic and shares often go towards those Debbie Downers. And it’s not just on Yelp! or TripAdvisor anymore. Your small graphic design or mechanics’ shop is up for scrutiny too. So why should you put yourself out there? And how do you respond? Have no fear, we’re here to offer you a guide on how to respond to negative reviews.

Should I just skip having user reviews altogether?

Well, you do have a point there. If you don’t participate, they can’t hate. But there are always going to be independent user review sites (like us) that you cannot control. And simply choosing not to participate in a volatile online world — from social media to opinion and review pages — leaves a suspicious hole in your messaging. Plus because just because you want to ignore it (la la la, I’m not listening…) doesn’t mean it’s going to go away.

Plus, if you don’t have a negative review once in awhile, folks will start to think your business or your reviews aren’t legit.

We say put your neck out there and you might be surprised how you can avoid digital execution.

7 Reasons to Respond to a Negative User Review

  1. Fixes the problem
  2. Makes the customer happy
  3. Maybe so happy they turn into brand ambassadors
  4. Publicly shows you have conscientious customer support
  5. Gains leads by showing how great that customer support is
  6. Nips things in the bud before they get out of control

And don’t just go and put your neck out there is not only participating in potentially nasty forums, but it’s also about having a social media presence. No matter what your biz is, your customers are on social media. In fact, like good little lemmings, 55 percent of all clients are scoping you out of social media before pulling out that credit card.

And don’t just sniff at socials because of their potentially negative repercussions or because you so you don’t have time. Companies that actively use Twitter double their leads, plus each Tweet counts as a sort of backlink. Just like in independent user reviews, you should respond to both the positive and negative. And (unless you’ve a pottymouth on your hands) don’t delete negative reviews! It’ll make you look like your company is trying to hide something. Plus, you’ll just tick them off into posting even more negative comments on even more sources.

Instead schedule a response with a social media marketing app. Here at GetApp, we use a combination of Oktopost and Hootsuite to keep up to date on what folks are saying about us and to well-time our responses, cross-platform shares and the like. And while I’m all for staying disconnected on the weekend, I love the Hootsuite mobile app because I can give mentions a quick look-through a couple times a day just so I can make sure there are no fires to put out publicly.

10 Golden Tricks for Responding to a Negative Review

“Great customer service comes down to responsiveness, which manifests itself in many different ways. Responsiveness not only means responding to a customer’s question or need quickly, but also solving it completely and anticipating follow-up questions or needs. The customer should know they can rely on you to value their time and, even if you can’t answer their issue in one conversation, they know you’ll get back to them with a resolution.” It seemed like a great idea to kick off this list with these insightful words from Kelly Lorenz, director of marketing programs at the ITSM tool Samanage, which focuses on IT Service Desk and Asset Management.

And here are those ten tricks to help you being awesome and responsive:

  1. Take a deep breathe.
  2. Remember it’s not just the angry client who is reading it.
  3. Create an account to respond to wherever it is as human from the company.
  4. Admit “It was our bad.” (Just don’t get defensive!)
  5. Offer a fix.
  6. Publicly post the fix because:
    A. It’ll prevent in the future
    B. Will respond to other clients who haven’t asked the question yet.
  7. Reply as quickly as possible.
  8. And then try to move the conversation offline.
  9. Mind your manners and say thank you!
  10. Again, don’t delete it!

Our low, mobile-induced attention span has humankind becoming more and more impatient, but it’s assumed across the board that you will be quicker to respond and to respond accurately. You really need to respond to each and every negative review. And fast.

**Don’t focus on apologizing so much as focus on finding and explaining a solution.**

Whenever possible, in the public forum show that you are addressing the problem and maybe even share the solution with the world, but then go ahead and try to steer the conversation offline. You want to look responsive, but you don’t want to go airing your dirty laundry.

75% of Negativity: Customer Support

On, we have nearly 4,000 independent user reviews. About eight percent of those are negative — considering that statistic of how much more motivated dissatisfied customers are, we’re quite happy with that. But alas, we do have a sad statistic: we find that a whopping 75 percent of all the negative user reviews are regarding customer support. This is a twinge ironic since a huge number of cloud-based business apps are customer service and help desk apps.

Of course, while only eight percent of our reviews are negative, that doesn’t mean our clients don’t have high churn. According to our friends at HappyFox Help Desk, “96 percent of unhappy customers don’t complain, however 91 percent of those will simply leave and never come back.” Then how do you know if your clients are unhappy? Through tracking and constantly evaluating your customer success reps.

And what do you look for? We asked Eric Harrington, co-founder of TeamSupport Help Desk Software What is the key to great customer service? It’s simple: “Knowing your customer and their needs, excellent team communication.” So where are you and your team getting stuck behind the eight ball in bad customer support.

Don’t have a whole ecosystem where you need a full-on customer support software to respond to customer requests? Maybe you should try a simpler app that just gets you barebones responses from your clients like Engagor Customer Engagement and Insights Software which can be as simple as asking McDonald’s customers to rate their experience with a Happy, a Mediocre or Sad Face. You can monitor overall feeling for any given day, week or month, and then give something away to boost their moods or ask them to share with their friends when there’s a trend of satisfaction.


Satisfied Customer? Ask ‘em for a response

Yes, we cannot suggest enough, you should never delete a bad review. But if you feel you have full satisfied your client, by asking: “Are you fully satisfied? Do you have anything else I can help you with?” then you can ask them: “Would you mind terribly either removing your comment, or, even better, add to it and talk about your experience?” Sometimes, you’re going to have issues. Even better than getting them to delete, is taking the opportunity for them to retract their comments and showing that you are a company dedicated to customer service and working through problems together with your clients.

Don’t let customer support be the ball that drops

Just remember, an occasional negative review is normal — just as long as it’s surrounded by positive ones. Just take note of how they are adding up. If you notice a trend in poor customer service, that must become your number one priority, plain and simple.

And it might be time to consider tracking, automating and filtering some of your customer service with a help desk and customer support app. We know you’re busy but the one thing you don’t want to fall through the cracks is your client base.

How do YOU respond to negativity?

This is always an awkward but pretty much mandatory moment in your business. Can YOU tell us a time when you received a negative review and when you worked through it? Or maybe you failed to but learned a big lesson? Please share it with us in the comments below!