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Consumers use online reviews to make quick decisions about which business will earn their support. But they don’t just read the good or bad reviews that people post. Studies show that responding to negative reviews can also have a positive impact on your business. 

Consumers tend to get suspicious of businesses with only five-star or one-star ratings. Most people know that local businesses can have “off” days or encounter customers with unreasonable expectations. That’s why they take a deep dive into online reviews, even reading a businesses’ responses. 

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

How you deal with negative reviews shows your customers that you value their opinion, have strong business ethics, and are committed to the customer experience. Here are some tips for responding to negative reviews so that they can have a positive effect on your online reputation.

1. Respond Quickly

Consumers don’t have much patience anymore. As a business owner, you likely have a lot on your plate. But you also need to monitor what people are saying about your brand online and respond accordingly. 

Reply to negative feedback as quickly as possible. If a customer felt dissatisfied enough to sit down and write a negative review, you can make a response a priority. Aim to provide your response within 24-48 hours. 

2. Acknowledge the Issue

It’s understandable that you might feel attacked by negative feedback about a business that you’ve poured your heart and soul into but, it’s still a business. It’s important to remove emotions from the equation and acknowledge that the person leaving the review had a poor experience. 

3. Empathize and Apologize

Once you’ve acknowledged the customer’s issue, it’s time to show some empathy. Take a deep breath and avoid the temptation to argue. Instead, apologize that you were unable to meet their expectations. 

4. Take Responsibility

Even if the customer’s poor experience wasn’t your fault, it’s important to take responsibility. Let the customer know that you have an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction and high quality standards. Reinforce your regret that the customer wasn’t satisfied with their experience with your business. 

5. If Necessary, Explain the Disconnect

Depending on the situation, you might want to provide an explanation about what happened. Remember, others will read this and be curious. Maybe a piece of machinery broke down, or there was a medical emergency in the office. Simply explain the facts to provide clarity, and avoid using the circumstances as an excuse for poor service. 

6. Move the Discussion Offline

While you always want to respond to negative reviews publicly, not everything needs to be hashed out in a public setting. Invite the customer to contact you via phone, email, or in person to discuss the matter further so that you can resolve it. 

7. Make Things Right

Finally, make things right with the customer. This might involve giving the customer a refund, store credit, or some other consideration. 

Need Help Managing Your Online Reviews?

Negative reviews can be incredibly damaging for a local business—particularly if that business has few reviews on its profile. But dealing with negative feedback doesn’t have to be complicated. It can even be leveraged as a branding and marketing opportunity. 

If your business would like assistance with its local marketing efforts, visionPATH marketing can help. We will create a customized strategy that gets you found and help increase your online visibility. Contact us today for more information about our services.