Do I Have to Reply to Every Negative Review?

When customers leave negative or unhappy reviews from an experience they had at your business, do you really need to respond to every single one? Find out in our latest blog!

Do I Have to Reply to Every Negative Review?

Review marketing: something every business should do, but, unfortunately, not every business does. When customers leave negative or unhappy reviews from an experience they had at your business, do you really need to respond to every single one?

The quick answer? Yes! But the reason why is a little more complex, and this blog is here as a resource to help you reply to any negative reviews your business receives.

Review Marketing in Action

As a part of your review marketing strategy, your business must respond to reviews of all types for two main reasons:

  • Replying to reviews shows that you care about your customers’ experience at your business.
  • Your customers expect you to reply to them.

Did you know that 97 percent of consumers read online reviews? Not only do they read them, but they trust the reviews just as much as they trust a friend or family member making a recommendation.

If customers or potential customers see negative reviews with no response, it’s likely they will choose a competitor over your business.

It’s also important to note that 89 percent of customers read your businesses’ response to those reviews, giving you another reason to make responding a priority.

How to Reply to Negative Reviews

Although it may be frustrating when your business receives negative reviews, it can actually be a learning tool.

Here are some steps you can take when responding to negative reviews:

  1. Before beginning your response to a review, take a deep breath. You don’t ever want to be angry when you respond.
  2. It’s vital that you apologize, even if it wasn’t your fault!
  3. Remind the reviewer that their experience did not align with what your business typically strives for (you can tie in your apology here).
  4. If the reviewer did leave any positive comments, make sure to re-enforce them, reminding them that their entire experience wasn’t bad.
  5. You can also take the experience offline. You can ask the reviewer to give you a call or visit your business so you can better understand the problem and to make things right.
  6. Although you want to make everyone happy, unfortunately, you can’t please everyone! Don’t dwell on one negative review. Take this experience and figure out what you can do to make your business better.
  7. Lastly, some negative reviews aren’t all that bad. If your potential customers only see positive reviews, they may think they’re fake. Negative reviews reveal authenticity, allowing your business to show that you are human and mistakes can happen!

Why Do Customers Leave Negative Reviews?

You may be wondering, why do customers leave more negative reviews than positive ones?

Well, there are a few reasons (and these reasons tie back into the steps to take when responding to those reviews).

  1. They want you to say "sorry."
  2. They want potential customers to know about your bad experience.
  3. Some customers want you to be more honest (mostly about your business policies).
  4. A lot of customers are looking for financial reimbursement.

You can learn more about these reasons and get some helpful tips from our previous blog.

Tips for Replying to Negative Reviews

Now that you know the steps to take and the reasons why people leave negative reviews, here are some tips that can make replying to them even easier:

  1. Reply quickly. Your reviewer took the time to post a review, so you should follow suit and respond as quickly as possible. 24-48 hours is the best timeframe, but it's not a magic number. Even if it's after the two-day mark, it's still important to reply!
  2. Put yourself in your customers' shoes. If you had a bad experience at your favorite store or restaurant, what would you want to hear from the business if you left a negative review? Always keep your customers' perspective at the forefront. 
  3. Watch your tone. We mentioned how you should never respond to reviews when you're angry, but even if you've calmed down, your tone can still come across as defensive or rude if you're not careful. Before you post the reply to their review, think back to tip two and slide into their shoes. Is it something you would want to hear? If you answered no, then it's back to the drawing board! 

How Review Marketing Can Help

It's extremely important to respond to negative reviews, but you shouldn't forget about your positive reviews, too! 

We know that responding to reviews can be time-consuming, but that's why we're here to help! 

At RevLocal, we have Renown, a review marketing management platform. With Renown, you can effortlessly manage your business's online reputation through instant text and email alerts. The check-in feature allows your business to consistently get new reviews.

Want to learn more about Renown? Request a demo with one of our digital marketing consultants today! 

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