We have all had a bad experience with a company – that does not necessarily mean they were running a poor business. Sometimes their timing was off that day or they didn’t perfectly fit your needs. It happens to the best of us, and it will likely happen to you at some point as well.
Negative comments and reviews are no favorite of a business owner, however they can be a great way for you to add credibility to your business if you respond to them in the right way.
First, it is normal to get upset or defensive. This is your business, after all! Take a deep breath and clear your head for a moment before responding. The last thing you want to do is let your emotions dictate your response.
Next, form a response that is both sympathetic and helpful. Here’s how to do that:
Address the reviewer. Customers want to be heard individually and treated as humans. Use a respectful salutation and try to add their name if possible. Something like, “Dear Sally,” or “Hello Greg,” can make a big impact right off the bat.
Say thank you. Something as simple as, “Thank you for reaching out to us.” or “Thank you for your business.” can go a long way.
Issue a first-person apology and sympathize. Make sure you say “I” and not “we” – this shows the reviewer that you are a real person with a heart. Then show your sympathy. Something like, “I’m so sorry to hear that your shoelaces broke after two wears. I understand how frustrating that must be.”
Take responsibility for the mishap. This shows you care about your customer’s experience. Something like, “Our shoelaces typically hold up for years, so it hurts to hear yours didn’t meet that mark.”
Offer to make things right. Something like, “We would love the opportunity to put your trust back into our brand.”
Take the conversation offline. This ensures any additional communication will be private. Something like, “Please reach out to our team by phone at ... so we can make this right.” or “I will send you a DM so we can fix this ASAP.”
The full response we crafted above:
“Dear Sally, thank you for reaching out to us. I am so sorry to hear that your shoelaces broke after two wears. I understand how frustrating that must be. Our shoelaces typically hold up for years, so it hurts to hear yours didn’t meet that mark. We would love the opportunity to put your trust back into our brand. I will send you a DM so we can fix this ASAP.”
Using the formula above, it should be fairly simple to respond in a respectful and positive way to negative comments or reviews online. Once the conversation is offline, make sure you fix their problem to the best of your ability, otherwise you risk them replying to their original comment with slander that is much tougher to fix on your end.
On a heavier note, if you want to make sure you are prepared for a social media crisis, we love this comprehensive guide from Sendible: Crisis Management Guide