It’s understandable to balk at a negative review and think you have a problem on your hands. We’ve written a lot on how to properly turn these bits of tough feedback into a marketing asset for your business. But how do you respond to a negative review that contains inaccuracies about the work referenced? Or to a one-word review that just says “SCAM”?
Prospective Customers and Negative Reviews
The key to understanding how these negative reviews actually impact your business requires an understanding of how people are actually reading them. Remember that most people do not read reviews from beginning to end. Instead, they will scan the review and look immediately at your response. So that 500-word essay about how poorly you cleaned someone’s carpet will not likely have the impact you think it will–if you know how to respond to it.
Below are some of the three most common negative reviews and how to properly deal with each one.
1. The “So Angry I Can’t Even Write Coherently” Review
Drunk with rage, these reviews are often difficult to understand. Anyone who did not know the context of the situation wouldn’t even understand what in the world the reviewer is talking about. Yet, these are the negative reviews business owners seem to worry about the most. They’re afraid that the less than flattering comments, no matter their bizarre arrangement, will damage their online reputation.
Keep it short and simple. You don’t even need to address what they’re talking about. Why? Because even if these responses were for the review authors, which they aren’t, these particular review authors do not typically return to see if you’ve responded and will not likely take any offer to rectify the situation. Like a vengeful ghost put to rest, they can move on. And now, so can you.
2. The “Aspiring Paperback Thriller Writer” Review
Often found on Yelp, these negative reviews are tales full of twists and turns and B-rate drama regarding just how awful their experience was. From the surly mechanic to the dead plant in the office, nothing was right. Naturally, you will want to respond with your own counter essay explaining why each detail was the way it was. Do not give in to that impulse.
Address the larger issue in no more than two sentences. Focus on assuring the reader, someone who is considering doing business with you, that this Real Housewives-level of drama will not happen to them. This response makes you appear level-headed and rational. Don’t match their literary prowess with your own.
3. The “Man of Few Words” Review
These are probably the most infuriating because…what are you supposed to do with this? How do you use our response strategy to deal with a negative review with no information?
You don’t. Don’t even respond to it. This review is a good thing. Why? Because negative reviews make your reviews page look real. People are reading reviews looking for the bad ones, ones filled with typos, to assure that these reviews are, in fact, from real people. You are bound to get online reviews that give very little information on what it is that actually made them upset and that’s fine. Let these reviews be validation of the many positive reviews you collect and display.
Negative Reviews Aren’t A Problem
Not all negative reviews warrant worry or response. But remember, negative reviews are marketing collateral when managed properly. So give smart and engaging responses and you can convert more of those readers into actual customers of yours. Follow the Customer Lobby blog to stay informed of the best review management practices.