Negative Reviews: How to Respond and Learn From Them

negative reviews

Negative reviews don’t have to negatively affect your business.

Regardless of the initial panic, negative reviews can be recovered from if they’re dealt with head-on. 

The disappointment of a negative review may feel like a hard hit to your business when you’re doing all that you can behind the scenes to perfect your systems and product. Negative reviews aren’t a reflection of your business as a whole. Even multi-million dollar conglomerates experience negative feedback. They use that negative feedback as a teaching tool and an opportunity to inch even farther ahead. 

It’s inevitable that negative reviews will come your way. It isn’t that they come along, but how your business handles them that matters most.

How Do Negative Reviews Help Your Business?

Bad reviews actually give you power as a retailer. They give you an opportunity to use your brand voice, to right your wrongs and to deliver stellar customer service — and to do it publicly, where every potential customer  can see it. 

Using your brand voice 

While handling negative reviews with professionalism is vital, you can also use the opportunity to let your brand voice shine. If your brand is playful your response to negative reviews can incorporate a play on words while still remaining professional. Use verbiage that your business uses often in your eCommerce marketing strategy to create a sense of familiarity. Working through each negative customer review is a chance for your business to stand out to other customers that may be following your social media accounts or browsing on your website.

If your negative reviews are tending to center on one issue such as shipping then going live on your business Instagram or Facebook to address an influx of negative reviews is a great idea. Or, take to your Shopify blog and address the issue there. It may be intimidating, but this will allow customers and prospective customers to see the humanity of your business and literally hear your brand’s voice. Whether you address the issues with humor or gentle concern, customers will appreciate the effort that you took to explain what has been happening behind the scenes.

Right your wrongs

There’s the saying that there is always room for improvement. Some negative reviews that are left for your business or product may seem that they can’t be fixed. 

For example, if a customer has an allergic reaction to your lotion then you can’t easily remedy that. However, you can reply to that customer with a caring and professional apology. Then, make sure that the lotion ingredients are clearly listed under the product description on the website. 

Of course, there are legitimate issues that negative reviews help to highlight. If negative reviews are rolling in about delayed shipping then it’s time for your team to revisit shipping protocol. Where is the shipping system clogging? Is it an employee issue or software issue? Knowing the answer makes all the difference. It will allow you to turn each negative experience into a solution. 

Should You Respond To Negative Reviews?

Negative reviews may be frustrating to deal with–especially if they seem completely unwarranted. It is vital that your business responds to them in a timely manner. Replying within 2-3 business days is an ideal timeframe. Negative reviews should be seen as important as responding to the questions of existing customers. Keep in mind that the best Shopify apps respond to negative reviews to enhance their customer experience. 

respond to reviews

How To Respond To Negative Reviews.

Replying to negative reviews allows your customer service to reach a new level. Your customer service shouldn’t end at responding to customers. Offer customers a solution to their complaints. Take each customer’s bad experience and use that to your advantage to create a more positive experience moving forward. 

Using the example of the lotion, your business may not be able to heal an allergic reaction, but you can recommend a different lotion and offer a discount on a future purchase.

Of course you can get creative with your incentives. Free shipping, discounts, a generous refund policy, etc. are just a few examples. Incentivizing customers that have left negative reviews may help your business in more ways than one. Your business will be able to correct the customer’s issue and in an ideal situation, gain that person as a loyal customer. 

Let’s recap how to respond to negative reviews.

  1. Summarize what the customer is saying or has written.
  2. Professionally showcase your brand voice.
  3. Offer the customer an incentive outlined in your company policy.

Why You Should Use A Review Template

Knowing exactly what to say to an unhappy customer can be difficult to navigate. Getting your team on the same page is very important. What will customers be told in specific review scenarios? When should customer service incentivize customers with future discounts or free shipping? Creating cohesion in your responses will cover your back as a company.

Employees should also be accountable for any bad review that rightly mentions them. For example, if poor customer service is a frequent complaint then there needs to be policy in place for team members that don’t comply. 

There is another way to create a cohesive experience for customers–providing a standard review template. The way to go about this is entirely up to the niche and size of your business. The idea is to create a template for future customers that guides them effortlessly through the review process. A review template will be an advantage to your business and your customer. You both get information that is valuable and you’re both able to make suggestions or changes based on that information.

Using the lotion example again we would assume that the customer would answer that they were not satisfied and that they would like to make a return for a full refund. Your business could then personally reach out to the dissatisfied customer and offer the incentive for their negative review that your team has set in the policy.

How To Create Your Review Template

Customer review templates can be sent out automatically after a purchase is made or even implemented on social media such as your Instagram stories. You can also prompt future customers to review the product by using a simple email campaign. The template should be short with only a few questions. You will want to keep the online review process short, simple, and to the point. 

Opting for yes or no questions or a sliding scale of customer satisfaction with an open-ended question at the end is ideal. Your business will want to know if the customer is satisfied and suggestions they may have.

In your ManyChat dashboard, you have a selection of customer review templates you can use to get customer feedback from your subscribers. When getting yours set up, use the tips above for optimal results.

customer reviews

Key Takeaways

Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to a negative online review. 

Negative reviews aren’t an indicator that your business isn’t doing well. Each negative online review is an opportunity to equip your business to thrive. Your team should use any negative reviews as an opportunity to tighten up your operations and showcase your brand’s care for customers. Make sure that your business has a script in place for customer care. It’s important to have cohesion across your team for customer incentives. 

Your team will want to create an online review template that works for both you and your customer. Determine your template structure and questions. Then, decide when you will prompt customers for reviews.

Knowing how customers are reviewing your products on your site and social media platforms will help to streamline your marketing efforts and product development.

Take time this week to plan your review response strategy with your team.

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.