How to Deal With Negative Customer Reviews

Contributed content / By Bailey Belmont / 8 April 2020

Negative reviews can be devastating for a company's reputation, especially when handled poorly. This article serves as a guide for businesses looking to improve customer relations and address negative reviews.

Neglecting negative customer reviews could hurt your company’s reputation. Dealing with unfavorable reviews is critical to establishing a sustainable customer relationship.

Prevent a blow to your reputation – or a decline in sales – by following this step-by-step guide to managing negative customer reviews. 

This article aims to provide you with some fundamental pieces of advice on how to resolve even the most complicated customer review cases.

How to Deal With Negative Customer Reviews

  1. Avoid telling the customer they’re wrong
  2. Offer appropriate customer incentives
  3. Use help desk software
  4. Personalize responses to negative reviews
  5. Respond to the customer immediately
  6. Reflect on company improvements


1. Avoid Telling the Customer They’re Wrong

No matter how cliché it might sound, the customer is always right. Even if they write a negative review of your excellent product or service, you must treat them as though they are in the right.

The customer has some experience with your product, so attempting to persuade them the product is better won’t help. 

You might feel like you don’t deserve the criticism you are bound to hear, though. So, how do you stay polite and apologize without humiliating the company’s reputation, even if this is not your fault? 

First of all, you should respond to the review in a way that demonstrates empathy to a person who had a negative experience with your product. 

Take a negative review of a restaurant, for example. The owner should respond by addressing the customer’s specific concerns and providing alternatives or solutions, should they wish to dine there in the future.

validate the customer's feelings
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Afterward, you can feel free to explain that this is not directly your fault, but you are still willing to help. 

This type of empathetic response will earn back trust with the customer and save your image.

2. Offer Appropriate Customer Incentives

A product’s value drives customers’ repeat purchases. Customers will keep coming back when they know a product is useful. 

If your company encounters bad reviews, remember that you can always offer your dissatisfied customer a discount or even free samples of the product.

The fact that one can get some products for free reduces the anger that led to the negative review in the first place.  

This strategy only applies to situations when a bad review is actually your company’s fault. Avoid offering free products to reviews you suspect might be fake.  

Finding appropriate incentives often makes the customer reconsider his or her initial review.

3. Use Help Desk Software

One of the principal reasons for customer dissatisfaction is the customer support staff’s failure to react to requests appropriately. 

Customers grow dissatisfied when they perceive customer support staff What lies behind is unable to manage conversations in the channels. 

No matter how many channels you have and how busy you are with processing requests, help desk software can help you. 

Keeping track of all the records and interactions with customers helps customer support teams stay organized when trying to reduce and address negative reviews. 

All help desk software has a common goal: helping you to build better relationships with a customer. 

So, using the software for streamlining conversations across multiple channels can turn out to influence customer satisfaction as well as to reduce costs. 

4.  Personalize Responses to Negative Reviews

There is nothing that customers value more than attention to their issue. 

If your customers get a standardized reply, they might assume that they have no value for the company. The latter makes them eager to leave even more negative reviews. 

Everyone wants to be treated individually. Don’t make responding to negative reviews a standardized form material. 

Ask your dissatisfied customer and about their purchase history, previous product issues, and previous experience with customer service representatives.

Doing so will help you obtain an understanding of how to respond to the customer’s specific issue.

Finally, don’t wait until the customer writes the comment - be the first to ask. In other words, you may try to take an interest in how is your customer’s experience with the new product going. 

personalized email negative review response
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Use a personalized email with their first name and specific details from their review to make them feel their complaint is valued.

But most importantly, always keep in mind that you should better not sound robotic. 

5. Call the Customer Immediately

Today, appropriate feedback means everything for customers. In most cases, all of them want to get a precise response once they have left a negative comment. 

The best way to handle such an issue is by giving your customer a call. Indeed, 90% of customers admit that an immediate response plays a huge role in resolving a negative case. 

You should contact your customers within 10 minutes and answer all of their inquiries. 

Immediate one-to-one communication is essential for resolving customer’s issues. 

6. Reflect on Company Improvements

Considering that there is always room for improvement, you may want to begin with refining your support system straight away. 

For instance, one possible solution right now could be to think about conducting effective employee training. 

You cannot expect that all your customer reviews will be positive unless you carry out employee training

The latter can be a prerequisite for making sure that support employees will thoroughly handle any issue. 

Employee training can be your first step towards better problem-solving for customers. 

Businesses Must Learn to Manage Negative Customer Reviews

There is a solid link between client happiness and company success. 

Any reputable company considers all types of negative reviews and strives to resolve issues straight away in a personalized manner. 

Dealing with client complaints shows your company is responsible. As the one who is in charge of handling negative customer experience, the best thing you can do is get to know your customers. 

Once you manage that, it will be easier to recognize the issue and prevent negative experiences from happening.

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