Receiving unfavorable online reviews is pretty much inevitable when you own a business. Bad reviews are always one of the hardest things to coach a small business owner through. Not only because of the way it affects the business, but also because of the effect it has on the business owner’s stress level. As much as you attempt to ensure that each client who strolls in has the ideal experience with your business, it’s unrealistic to expect to satisfy everyone. The client may have had a tiff with one of your servers, or hated the product you sell, or anticipated better help from you. Or, they may just be in a bad mood, looking to take it out on someone.

There are just such a large number of things that could ruin a client’s experience when they visit the your business. In these sort of cases, clients are probably going to leave you an unfavorable review with a low star rating on Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor or other comparative sites.

As the saying goes, there’s no reason for crying over spilt milk, however, you can tidy up the wreckage. Customers who leave reviews do it with expectations of furnishing other customers with some understanding into the experience they had with your business. Also, as a rule, when they take the time to write about their experience in a review, they expect a reaction from somebody who at least works there. If you have experienced a bad review at your business, you’re reading the correct article. This article will discuss the most ideal approach to react to such reviews, give you instances of how you can react to negative reviews, and, give you access to templates that will enable you to customize your review response in seconds.

1. Addressing the customer concern
How you address your customer is going to be of prime importance when you start writing a response to a negative review. A customer who’s left you a really bad review is most likely either frustrated, angry, or disappointed with your business.

In all of these cases, they’re looking for someone from the business to either take ownership for the actions, or sort the issue out. As the business owner, it’s likely that you do not come into contact with every single customer. In this case, you might be hearing about this issue for the first time ever via the review. It’s possible that it might be something that you are not entirely to blame for; for example, third party vendors/distributors could have caused it.

In any case, you’ll need to show that you care about your customers, and reassure them that this will be taken care of. Which means that you’ll have to start with a personalized and sincere apology, period. Don’t try to contest or argue with the customer in such a case. Don’t say, I’m sorry you feel that way, BUT… It will only lead to the customer getting even more frustrated, and they might spread sour word-of-mouth reviews about your business in their even more.

Keep the salutation and apology brief, but sound genuine while you’re at it. Here’s how you can start it off.

Hi Dawn,
This is Bob, owner of Bob’s Burgers. We’re extremely sorry that you had a bad experience with us.
Hi Rebecca,
I’m Suzana, the store manager at Ice Scream You Scream, Wilmington. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience that we have caused you.
Why this works
Both of these formats do three things right.

They address the reviewer by their first name, making it a personal and non-robotic response.
They introduce you – the person who is accepting responsibility for this – to the customer.
They tell the customer that you regret the fact that a customer had to face a problem with your business.
A brief introduction to your response should be written with all these things in mind, always. Keep it concise, but make it honest.

2. Validate the customer’s concern
As much as the customer will be impressed to see the personalized response from you, what they really want you to do is solve the issue at hand. The next part of your response should immediately deal with the problem.

Here, you need to talk about the issue that they faced, give a brief explanation as to why it happened, and immediately talk about what you’re doing/you have done to fix the issue.

I understand that you were expecting the package to be delivered on Wednesday. There has been a delay in dispatch of the shipping, and our tracking system is currently under maintenance. We will be delivering the item over to you by 8:00 PM today, at the latest. I’ve spoken to my delivery manager and made sure that it will be reach you at the earliest.
We take great care to make sure that the ingredients that we use, pass through stringent quality measures before being used for preparation. One of our employees seems to have overlooked the expiry date on the package that our food supplier sold to us. We’re actively working on changing our wholesale foodstuff supplier right away.

3. Try to resolve the issue
Once you’ve given them the reason behind the mishap and spoken about what you’re doing to fix it, talk to them about how you’re going to make it up to them. Or even better, ask them what they want you to do to compensate for it.

Please visit our store again. We’d love to make it up to you by giving you a discount coupon for the troubles that we’ve caused you.
Please call me at (123) 456-7890 and I’ll sort this out for you personally.

4. The Conclusion
Once you’re done with all this, apologize once more, and sign off with a signature. Thank them for giving you feedback about it, and how you’ll work on making the experience better for other customers.

We wish that this hadn’t happened. We hope that we were of help here. Thank you for your feedback.

Manager at Joe’s Burgers.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We’ll make sure that this doesn’t happen again in the future. We apologize for the inconvenience once again.

Customer Service at Bloxco
Here are some examples of review responses that absolutely hit the nail on the head.

Responding to tons of reviews that you receive online can be time consuming. With these suggestions, responding to your online reviews will be quicker and less cumbersome. While these will serve as great places to start, make sure you add a unique sentence or two in each of these while responding to reviews for best results.

At UP Market Media, we also offer an online directory management software, that notifies you when your business receives a review on any of your online directory listings, and you can respond to those reviews, on any directory, right in one dashboard. Contact us today, and find out how we can help you turn a negative review into a positive experience!