What to do with negative Google Reviews

Responding to negative reviews online can be a delicate task.

Some general guidelines to help you respond effectively

Stay calm and professional: Take a deep breath and resist the urge to respond defensively or emotionally. Maintain a calm and professional tone throughout your response.

Address the issue promptly: Respond to the review in a timely manner. This shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to resolving any concerns.

Thank the reviewer: Begin your response by thanking the reviewer for taking the time to provide feedback. Expressing gratitude shows that you appreciate their input, even if it's negative.

Personalize your response: Use the reviewer's name (if available) and acknowledge their concerns. This demonstrates that you've read and understood their feedback.

Apologise and empathise: Apologise for any negative experience the reviewer had. Show empathy by acknowledging their frustration or disappointment. This helps to humanize your response and shows that you genuinely care about customer satisfaction.

Take a deep breath and resist the urge to respond defensively or emotionally. Maintain a calm and professional tone throughout your response. Perhaps take a break before responding.

 

Offer a solution or explanation: Provide a helpful solution or explanation to address the reviewer's concerns. The best approach is often to offer to resolve the issue privately through direct contact to further discuss and rectify the problem.

Keep it concise: Keep your response brief and to the point. Avoid getting into a lengthy back-and-forth exchange, as it may escalate the situation. Encourage further communication offline, if needed.

Maintain professionalism: Avoid getting defensive or engaging in arguments. Remember that your response is public, and others will be observing how you handle the situation. Maintain a professional tone and focus on finding a resolution.

Monitor and follow up: After responding, monitor the review platform for further interaction. If necessary, follow up to ensure the issue has been resolved and the customer is satisfied.

Learn from the feedback: Use negative reviews as an opportunity for improvement. Analyze the feedback and consider implementing changes in your products, services, or processes to address recurring issues.

Responding to negative reviews is about addressing the reviewer's concerns and demonstrating your commitment to customer satisfaction and your willingness to learn and grow as a business.

If you are sure the person is not a customer

You can apply to Google to have the review removed. For example, sometimes people leave a review on a business that has a similar name. You will need to give some evidence to Google that the person was not your customer. I suggest you still respond to the review, thanking the person for leaving a review and asking them to contact you directly, as you have no record of them as a customer.

Some Practical Advice

As mentioned above, reply to the review politely and ask them to contact you directly. You may like to include any information that is helpful for other potential customers. For example, "We are sorry that you found the delays unacceptable. We did explain on the phone that the part you required was a special order and because of this, it can take 3-5 weeks for our supplier to supply us."

Here is an example of a template that could be adapted to your needs.

"Dear [NAME OF REVIEWER], thanks for sharing your feedback. We’re sorry your experience didn’t meet your expectations. It is unusual for us to have unhappy customers. We will seek to do better in the future.

Please feel free to reach out to us directly with any further comments, concerns, or suggestions for improvement. We would love to make things right if you give us another chance."

Then I suggest getting a few happy customers to add positive reviews, so the negative review is not in the first review a potential customer sees.

I think most people appreciate that everyone is going to get one bad review every now and again; it can even strengthen positive reviews because it shows that your reviews are genuine. It is important to manage your brand reputation by responding to negative reviews.

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