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What to do When You Have a Negative Review

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There it is, right there on the screen. Your company just got a one-star review online. The customer is upset, you’re bummed, and now you must delicately address their concerns in a public forum. Don’t panic, it’s going to be okay! By following a few simple principles, not only can you turn this sad review into an excellent customer service opportunity, but you can prove to this customer and others reading the negative review that your company cares about their businesses.

Respond quickly
Don’t let that negative review simmer out there without a response. It’s important to address your customers’ concerns quickly and in a professional manner. Also, the sooner you post a reply, the fewer people will see the review without any context or response from your business. Posting a reply in a timely manner means that future customers will be able to see how quickly you take care of any concerns.

Be empathetic
This is an important customer service interaction with an unhappy human, and while you may want to respond as if they are the only person reading it, it’s vital to remember that your reply will be publicly visible for the world to see. We suggest communication that acknowledges their experience and shows empathy. Be careful not to come off as defensive or overly apologetic. You don’t have to admit to wrong-doing if no one is at fault, but responding in a helpful and humble tone can de-escalate the situation and put a focus on finding a solution.

Take ownership
Once you show that the company is empathetic to the customer’s situation, let them know how you plan to take ownership and provide a resolution. If there’s been a policy change or change in ownership, let them know what’s different or new and offer some options. Once a plan to resolve the issue has been agreed upon, make sure to follow up (this can be done privately, and doesn’t have to occur on the review thread) and confirm that everything has worked out satisfactorily.

Show you care
While negative reviews can be frustrating, they can also be an opportunity to learn how your company can do better in the future. Show the customer that you have a deeper level of caring by offering to connect via phone to hear more about their experience. Sometimes all they need is to feel heard, and then when an easy solution is presented, the negative review can become an opportunity to show the strength of your company’s customer support systems.

Don’t panic
While no one wants to see a negative review, by responding in a professional manner that follows some customer service best practices, you’ll be able to turn your customer’s frown upside down. Start by providing a quick response that shows empathy for their situation. Then, take ownership of the problem. Once you show that you care about their experience and their business, you’re sure to be able to find a solution that meets their needs and also demonstrates to any other customers reading the interaction that your customer service is on point.