As long as review platforms have been online, businesses have been asking one question: how to respond to negative reviews. While a business’ most important review platform will vary by industry, we will provide basic advice for Yelp and Google reviews given their prominence in search engine rankings, and thus online visibility.
Generally, on Yelp, we do not recommend responding to negative reviews. Many negative reviews will only focus on one aspect of a customer’s experience. Therefore, this does not reflect your business in its entirety. By responding to negative reviews, you give Yelp sales associates more incentive to sell you their online services. Instead, let your happy customers speak for you. If a customer expresses gratitude directly to you or someone on your staff, kindly request a Yelp review.
Google Reviews, which is set up by Google my Business, encourages business owners to respond to reviews. They do this by marking how many reviews your business has, and how many you have responded to. This dashboard suggests that Google believes responding to reviews is positive for your profile. Because Google does not profit from Google my Business yet, sales associates will not be looking to exploit you. Therefore, if its inline with your business’ goals and objectives, we recommend the following approach.
How to Respond to a Negative Review
When responding to negative reviews, keep your composure. It is not only your unhappy customer reading your response, but also potential and existing customers.
1) If you feel angry, step back and wait to cool down.
2) Draft your response so it sounds apologetic and direct. Say that you are sorry to hear about his/her experience. Then, add that he/she can call your business phone (or customer service line) to further discuss or resolve his/her issue. This takes the conversation offline.
3) If you are dealing with multiple negative reviews, make sure each response is somewhat different. You do not want to copy and paste the same response. Small variations will show that you are reading each case individually, seriously and professionally.
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