There are several ways to respond to a negative review. What and how you deliver your message heavily depends on the type of review given. Here are some of the attitudes and actions you can embody in responding to not-so-pleasant reviews.
1. Simply fix the problem
Most of the negative reviews you’ll get are grounded on the simple reason that your store simply hasn’t satisfied a customer’s expectation.
If the problem stems from a misleading product image or description, check your product listing and update the necessary changes. Then rectify by refunding or arranging a satisfactory plan of action with which you and your customer have come to terms with.
Sometimes, the fault of the misunderstanding can stem from the consumer. For instance, a customer damages a product by submerging it in deep water, although you specifically stated in your product description that it is not for underwater use. In this case, it’s just a matter of thoroughly explaining the situation.
2. Respond quickly
If a customer bothers to leave a nasty review on your product listing, it’s a “very” disappointed customer. Therefore, you should not waste time. Responding in a timely matter is crucial.
Your timeframe for responding should not go beyond 48 hours from the time the review is posted.
Of course, a quick response would not matter if you haven’t addressed their issue/s properly. Take time to read their review and plan a course of action.
Be timely but don’t be rash. Taking your sweet time to read, be able to breathe, and calm down afterward helps a lot in the next sentences you’re going to compose.
3. Keep it short and simple
Less is more. Three to four sentences that directly fix the issue are better than an irrelevant, generic essay.
Impression is everything. Writing a long-winded response legitimizes the complaint even if it isn’t a big deal in the first place.
Don’t overthink things. Curate your solutions according to the problem and get to the bottom of the problem.
4. Respond with genuine concern/soften your tone
In responding to feedback, one must be genuinely concerned and emphatic to their customers.
Soften your tone but still embody a professional tone.
- Address the reviewer: Nobody likes a template-like response like “Dear sir,” “Dear guest,” or “Dear customer.” If you can identify the reviewer’s name, address them in their name.
- Thank them: Thanking customers, even the not-so-polite ones show your professionalism. It shows that your store values constructive criticisms and the willingness to improve.
You can show your concern in a lot of ways, such as validating their problems, analyzing their review thoroughly, and most importantly, doing something about it.
Don’t forget to thank your customers for taking their time to leave a review. If the comments are not very detailed, you may politely ask them about it to better serve them.
Some sellers might suggest to their customers to take down the negative review. This suggestion should never feel “coerced” or forced.
Also, it helps to note that you don’t have to take those reviews personally. Most, if not all, of those reviewers, don’t know who you are. Therefore, it’s futile to take them personally.
5. Take responsibility if you’re at fault
Stop giving excuses or getting all defensive, especially if you are the one at fault. Even if you’re not to blame for the poor experience, it’s best to take the moral high ground and practice a customer-centric approach.
6. Take your discussion offline
There are discussions best done online or offline. You may continue the exchange online if it’s to set a business example and the issue isn’t overly sensitive for public viewing.
If the discussion seems best done offline, subtlely suggest moving the discussion offline.
7. Ask for a second chance
This move actually humbles you business-wise and is an opportunity to show how your store is willing to improve more.
8. Get another pair of eyes
Add confidence to your response by letting an impartial third-party (individual) read through them.
You might not be noticing your tone. Some feedback could get “too defensive,” “too sappy,” or unconsciously impolite.
Colleagues in the industry are the best pair of eyes to employ.