When it comes to customer feedback, responding to negative reviews isn’t always fun.

But it’s not an option either. A business needs to manage their reputation, and online reviews are critical to referrals.

There’s a number of things to consider when dealing with how to respond to negative reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp or similar review sites.

You should not use canned responses for negative or positive reviews. Take the time to personalize each and avoid using a review response template. However, having a guideline is always helpful, and we’ve provided an overview on the method you might use, along with examples for negative review responses.

Start by addressing the individual by their name. Be apologetic, address the situation, and offer to take care of the customer’s concerns.

About 78% of consumers say that seeing management respond to online reviews makes them believe that the business cares more about them. Also consider that when trying to resolve a situation, it’s probably better to have management involved as they’re in more of a position to make decisions on the spot when communicating with a customer. The last thing you would want to do is have a long drawn out process when trying to make a dissatisfied customer happy.

It was found in one study (Harris Interactive) that when a company replied to negative reviews on social media and online ratings sites, about a third of customers either deleted their original negative review or replaced it with a positive review. Additionally, about a fifth went on to become loyal customers and made another purchase.

Proper and frequent monitoring of reviews can make for turning an unhappy customer around when handled the right way. Below we show you how to respond to a bad review examples.

Negative Review Response Examples

1.

Hello [NAME]

We would like to apologize for your recent experience and sorry to hear you were less than satisfied with [product/service].

We pride ourselves on our [product/service] and the high quality standards we maintain, and would like to make things right.

You can expect a [call/email] from [name] soon to discuss what occurred and how we might make it up to you.

Yours sincerely,

[Name]

[Company name and/or position - optional]

2.

Hello [NAME]

We’re sorry to hear of your less than satisfactory experience with [Company] and hope you will accept our sincerest apologies.

Being know for our great [customer service/product/service] it came as a surprise, and we would like to make things right.

We will be reaching out soon and you should get a  [call/email] from [name] to determine how we can provide you with a solution that makes you smile.

If you prefer, you can also contact us directly at [phone/email].

We value our customers opinions and would like to thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Yours sincerely,

[Name]

[Company name and/or position - optional]

3.

Hello [NAME]

My name is is [Name] and I am the [manager/owner] here at [Company].

I’m sorry to hear about your disappointment with us, and I would like to personally assist you with making things right.

I will reach out today to discuss, or you can contact me direct at [phone/email] if more convenient.

Let’s get on a call and address this asap, we value your business.

Yours sincerely,

[Name]

[Company name and/or position - optional]

4.

Hello [NAME]

We understand your disappointment with [Company] and agree that this is not acceptable.

It’s important to us that are customers are more than satisfied and we would like the opportunity to resolve this issue immediately.

If you give us a chance, we are intent on making this right and hope you will allow us to speak with you to discuss the situation.

Please give me a call at [phone] at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

[Name]

[Company name and/or position - optional]

5.

Hello [NAME]

We’re so sorry this happened. Let us make it up to you.

We’ll be in touch today, or please give me a call at [phone].

Yours sincerely,

[Name]

[Company name and/or position - optional]

6.

Hello [NAME]

You’re right, this is unacceptable. I can’t imagine how this may have happened but if you allow me the chance to speak with you I would like to make it right.

I would like to speak with you at your earliest convenience so we can get this sorted.

My number is [phone] or you can email me at [email].

I’m genuinely sorry this happened and look forward to speaking with you.

Yours sincerely,

[Name]

[Company name and/or position - optional]

Respond Promptly

It’s best to not put it off. In fact, most consumers expect a reply within the same day. Be quick about responding to negative reviews, it can help to resolve the issue when you’re able to address the situation in a timely manner. To be able to do so, you need to monitor reviews often so that you’re aware of any situations where an unhappy customer has left a negative review.

Be of Sound Mind

The last thing you want to do, even if the customer did, is to get personal and blast off an angry rant to a negative review. How you respond matters. You’re not just replying to an individual, but everyone that might see your response in the future. For many consumers, how you respond to an angry or dissatisfied customer can influence their decision to choose your business too.

Keep it Brief

When providing a response to a negative review, be brief, apologize, and get to the point. Steer the customer towards having a conversation and take it offline briefly. Once resolved, return to the original online conversation and thank them for the chance to fix the issue, and their business.

Knowing when to address

While it’s suggested to take things offline, there’s a time and place. When suitable, provide a public response. If you take it offline every time, it’s a lost opportunity to demonstrate a willingness to make customers happy for others to see.

Knowing when to respond

Not every negative review is going to be something you can fix. Sometimes, you could be putting yourself in the line of fire for more negative attention.

Determine if engagement is the right course of action. Was it a genuine mistake on your end or the rants of someone angry at life. Or worse yet, the ramblings of trolls?

Crisis Management

There are times when a negative sentiment can cause others to jump on the bandwagon and a bad situation gets worse. Staying silent can be a bad idea, but every situation is different and can require an intervention. Avoid being confrontational or overly excuse laden and tackle the issue head on. Situations like these are usually best to take the conversation offline.

Review Response Examples

Here’s how one auto dealership handled reputation management and offered the customer a direct line to a manager.

Here’s a response from a hotel to a lengthy review from TripAdvisor, where the management show you how not to do it. source

This restaurant review response is another fine example of what not to do. Source

While it can be difficult, maintaining the integrity of your business is an important part of reputation management. Online reviews are trusted by almost 90% of consumers and it’s essential to maintain your presence, or the phone may stop ringing.

It’s not what you say your business is, it’s what others say.

Keep in mind that less than five percent of dissatisfied customers ever take the time to mention why they’re unhappy, they simply disappear. So the ones that are sharing are actually doing you a favor, so you can fix things and avoid future issues.

Related: 

29 Ways To Get Customer Reviews

How To Respond To Negative Reviews