How to respond to negative product reviews

You’re responsible for overseeing a massive enterprise with a worldwide customer base, so naturally you understand the gravity of consumer reviews. You care about your customers, and you’re always trying to provide them with the best experience possible.

Fast-forward to your latest product launch. It’s the culmination of thousands of hours of research, development, and labor, and now it’s ready to be unveiled to the public. You choose a release date, start a marketing campaign to get the public excited, and then finally present your product to the world. Everything is perfect.

And then, the reviews start rolling in.

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Sure, many of the reviews are positive, even glowing. But inevitably, the 1-star reviews trickle in, and many of them are merciless in their scathing indictments of your product.

-> You’re stunned.

-> You’re speechless.

-> And you’re not alone.

Just about every mid-size to large business uses the internet to grow its customers base, and reviews are essential to this goal. But, while most customers who leave reviews are fair and appreciative of good products coupled with excellent customer service, there are those few who leave a trail of tears and ashes wherever they go. You just can’t please everyone.

Five things to consider when dealing with negative product reviews

1. KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

When someone leaves a negative product review, it’s natural for any hands-on business owner or marketing manager to take the criticism personally. In fact, some reviewers today won’t hesitate to make personal attacks against you and your staff. That’s just the kind of world we live in.

But you must keep your responses positive.

Never forget the reason that you’re engaging with customers on review websites in the first place. You’re there to build your reputation and attract new customers. That is it – nothing more.

Sure, it’s nice to connect with people and establish an ongoing relationship with repeat customers. That’s all part of the process, but ultimately, you’re there to present your company and your product in the best light possible. Reacting negatively to criticism only shines an unprofessional light on your business. You must resist the temptation to attack the attacker and keep your tone positive and professional at all times.

2. RESPOND TO EVERY REVIEW

A lot of businesses take the time to set up accounts on review apps, but then, they never respond to their customers who themselves take the time to leave reviews. This is a mistake, but it is also an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

When you respond to all of the incoming reviews – both positive ones and negative ones – people take notice. Keep in mind that for every person who leaves a review, there are likely hundreds and even thousands of people who read the reviews without commenting. So, your comments are being noticed by both current customers and by potential future customers.

Make a good impression by responding in a positive, courteous manner to every review, especially in the beginning when you’re trying to build some momentum. If you’re receiving hundreds of reviews a day, you may need to delegate this task to a PR or social media team. Just make sure they understand the proper etiquette for handling negative product reviews.

3. DON’T REACT EMOTIONALLY

If you’ve spent some time reading negative product reviews of various businesses online, you’ve probably come across business owners and managers who respond to negative product reviews by kicking back against the reviewer with hotheaded responses.

Online reputation management is a real challenge for some business owners because they react to criticism like little children who throw temper tantrums. Angrily lashing out at critics might make you feel better in the moment, but it will only hurt your company’s reputation and drive away potential customers.

Word travels fast in the digital age, and even a slightly snippy response can go viral and devastate your business. Don’t undo all of your company’s hard work in a single moment of frustration.

4. DO NOT MAKE EXCUSES – EVER

Another mistake that some marketing professionals make is that they respond by defending themselves and trying to explain away the customer’s negative experience. This might seem like a good idea. After all, you don’t want people to read the negative review and think that everything it says about your business is absolutely true and accurate, do you? Shouldn’t you respond by explaining why the customer is wrong?

Don’t do it.

When you respond defensively to negative product reviews, it just looks like you’re making excuses. That might not be what’s actually happening, but to a potential first-time customer who is browsing through your reviews, that’s exactly what it looks like.

So, don’t defend yourself. It won’t have the impact that you’re hoping to achieve.

5. ATTEMPT TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT

Whenever possible, give the customer the benefit of the doubt and attempt to salvage the relationship. Apologize for the poor experience and try to make it right. If the customer is having a problem because of a defective part, inform them on how to contact your company for a repair or replacement. If they’re upset about a customer service issue, you might apologize and offer them a discount on their next purchase.

Even if the critic responds negatively to your offer or doesn’t respond at all, it shows everyone else who reads these comments that you represent a professional enterprise that’s committed to pleasing its customer base. That can go a long way toward generating additional consumer loyalty.

So, next time you open up that review app or check your review notifications, remember that those negative comments aren’t your enemy. They’re valuable opportunities for your business. And last but not least: Negative reviews can even benefit your online sales.

In the meantime: if you have a product and you acknowledge the importance of more reviews, schedule a call with us and we are happy to explain our solutions to you.

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