How to Address Negative Reviews

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How to Address Negative Reviews

Here's the scenario - Joe's having a bad day. He slept through his alarm and was late to work. He was greeted by an email from HR announcing that another employee received the promotion he was hoping for. Attempting to clear his head that afternoon, Joe goes out to lunch at his favorite Mexican restaurant. He steps up to the counter and orders a Mega Burrito with extra guacamole. Extra guac makes everything better, right? But today, of all days, this lunchtime spot is gasp OUT OF GUACAMOLE!

While this guacamole debacle could have been overlooked due to the busy lunchtime rush, coupled with the rest of the day's events, Joe feels that his only course of action at this point is to write a negative review AND share it with everyone he knows.

Now what?

Addressing Negative Reviews

Notice the heading says addressing, not hiding from. Negative reviews require a response. It's all about controlling the narrative. Publicly responding to negative reviews does two things:

  1. Allows you to reconcile the situation with the reviewer
  2. Shows the general public that you care about your customers

The restaurant on the receiving end of Joe's negative review should respond quickly, apologize for his experience and let him know they want to make it right. They should then reach out to Joe directly—through a direct message—and let him know that his next meal is on the house. This olive branch will likely turn Joe from a mad customer to a happy one (who doesn't love free food?). In fact – if a business resolves an issue quickly and efficiently, 95 percent of unhappy customers will return.  Negative reviews are your opportunity to turn a disgruntled customer into a loyal fan.

Changing Negative Reviews to Positive Ones

86 percent of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews. That's a powerful statistic. But negative reviews are inevitable, so what's a business to do?

Think back to Joe and the Mexican restaurant. If Joe returns to the restaurant for his free Mega Burrito and has a great experience, his outlook on their brand will surely change. At this point it's totally appropriate for the restaurant to reach back out to Joe and ask him to change his review. With a new positive outlook (and hopefully a better day than the last time he visited), Joe will likely update his review to talk about how the restaurant made it right with him. Don't pressure customers to change their reviews though. Desperation is not a good look.

Joe's updated review is even more powerful than a general "this place rocks" review because it shows the restaurant went above and beyond to make their customer happy. A sentiment any modern consumer will appreciate.

Want more help with combating your negative reviews? Chat with The Karcher Group about how we can help.