Getting negative feedback for your product or service can send chills down your spine. Most times, such reviews indicate something wrong with your business. They could cripple your business, especially if they are from different customers.
However, ignoring negative reviews isn't good for your business. On the contrary, you should acknowledge them. Negative reviews can help you identify your weak points and your customers' pain points. These insights give you actionable ideas for improving your products and services.
Identify Constructive Feedback
You must be wondering what good can come out of devastating negative feedback on your ecommerce website. However, you need to understand that not all customers leave negative reviews out of spite. Some of them have negative feedback because you didn’t meet their expectations. As a result, these comments contain information that can help improve your business.
Furthermore, reading through the negative feedback will help you understand the customer's pain points. By understanding your customers’ concerns, you can start building a better experience for all.
Here’s an example of constructive negative feedback from a customer. This Amazon review is for a whipped cream dispenser with honest pain points from the customer.
If anything, you should encourage your customers to leave negative reviews if they don't get what they were promised. That is the only way to know which areas you need to improve.
However, not all reviews are constructive. Some negative reviews are malicious and are intended solely to make your business look bad. You can investigate such defamatory reviews and fish out the culprits.
Respond to Negative Reviews
Imagine that customer left a terrible review for your product and service. Most people’s knee-jerk reaction would be to feel like their brand reputation is being dragged through the mud. As a result, they end up ignoring the negative review or even deleting it.
However, I don’t recommend taking this approach.
Even if nobody else saw the review, the poster will know that you deleted it. Imagine what happens to your business image if the customer decides to share their experience with other people and say that you deleted their review?
The best way to handle negative reviews is by responding to them promptly. If possible, reply to the reviews within hours after they're posted. If you take too long to respond, you'll signal to the commenter and other customers that you don’t care about giving them a satisfactory experience.
According to the Bazaar View Conversation Index, 41% of customers appreciate businesses that respond to their online reviews. When you reply to your customers' negative reviews, you make them feel appreciated and cared for. What better way to earn customer satisfaction and loyalty?
Here's a guide on how to respond to negative reviews:
- Thank the customer for leaving the review
- Reply to the comment in general
- Take the discussion offline so you understand better what the problem is
- Be respectful in your reply
- Offer a sincere apology to the customer
See how HubSpot responds to a disgruntled employee’s comment on Glassdoor. In the response, the company accepts that the employee’s experience is not what the company expects. They’re willing to connect with the employee to understand the problem better.
Responding to negative reviews also builds credibility, authenticity, and a human touch to your business. Customers find it easier to leave their reviews and relate to your business better.
Ask Questions to Identify the Problem
After apologizing for your customer's bad experience with your product or service, you need to dig deeper and understand the problem.
The online review could have some information missing or could be exaggerated. A customer who's had a bad experience with your product will write the review emotionally. Try to reach out to them when they're less emotional.
That is where you take the conversation offline. Contact the disgruntled customer and understand what transpired. You need to ask relevant questions to know how best to deal with the problem.
Let’s look at how JetBlue responded to a customer complaining that their screen wasn’t working. They asked for more details, empathized with the customer, and promised to fix the problem.
Here are some guiding questions you can use to engage with dissatisfied customers:
- Where did you buy the product?
- Was this your first experience with the product?
- What didn't you like about the product?
- What would you suggest we change?
- Would you be willing to try the product after it's been changed?
Such questions will give you a detailed view of what the problem is. You can use the answers to improve your product.
Fix Your Mistakes
All the digging for details from your customers will not mean much if you don't fix the problems. The negative reviews you get from your customers are an excellent opportunity to learn and grow. Be accountable for your mistakes and fix them as perfectly as you can.
Defending yourself and finding excuses for the negative reviews could seem like the fastest way to deal with them. However, engaging in blame games, arguing with the customer, or accusing them of leaving fake reviews will just make your brand look bad.
Being accountable for your mistakes will earn you credibility and authenticity. It is an excellent opportunity to create an improved version of your product, boost your reputation, and establish your brand as a preferred service provider. However, you shouldn’t stop at just fixing the mistake – you need to let your customers know what you’ve done to make things right.
Let The Customers Know Your Solutions
After fixing the problem, let your customers know you have resolved it. You can reply to their review or contact them privately to tell them of your solution.
If the consumer is willing, you can ask them to try out your product or service after fixing the mistakes. If they love the new alternative, you could ask them to write a review for it.
Here’s an example from the Hyatt Regency Chennai. The customer had first given a negative review. However, the company sent an email to tell them they had received the complaints and have notified all the relevant departments so they could act on the issues.
Note how Hyatt Regency Chennai invites the customer back. They’re willing to do better and get a better review from the same customer.
According to Bright Local, 54% of online shoppers will visit a business website after reading positive reviews. A positive review from the same customer who'd given a negative review on the same product or service will help build authenticity for your business.
You can also ask the customer to update their review. They can explain how you reached out to them and fixed their problem.
Your customers will also feel valued if they know that you acted upon their complaints and improved your products. Once they see that you’ve resolved their issues, they might be willing to give you another try.
Provide Value for Dissatisfied Customers
If a customer had a bad experience with your product or service, they'd feel robbed because they didn't get value for their money. However, compensating such customers will make them feel less disgruntled with your business.
You can offer them a free replacement of the product they complained about, or give them discounts on other purchases. You can even give them a gift hamper of the product once you've improved it or something else from your collection.
Wendy’s is a good example of a brand that responds to negative feedback by providing value. The brand’s Twitter account might be known for playful, sarcastic replies to its competitors’ content, but it responds professionally and respectfully to customer complaints. It is also known for giving refunds and free food to people who are less than satisfied with their service.
Clients appreciate businesses that strive to give them value for their money. They're also likely to give you better reviews and earn you new customers.
Negative reviews create a bad image for your brand and can destroy your business if you don't address them adequately.
While they can be disheartening, ignoring the reviews only worsens the situation. The best way to deal with such reviews is to respond to them.
You should identify the constructive feedback in the reviews, respond to them positively, and ask questions to help you understand the cause of the problem. You should then fix the mistakes, let the customers know of the improvements, and give the dissatisfied customers value for their money.
If you do it properly, responding to negative reviews can improve your business's credibility and profitability.