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4 examples of responses to negative reviews

Whether your company just got into the online business recently or you're an old hand in the industry, it's never nice to get a negative review from a customer. One of the most common responses to criticism of any kind is to be on the defensive, want to strike back, and explain that (in your opinion) you didn't do anything wrong. This is a natural response as our brains are designed to view negative feedback as some kind of threat, so we want to defend ourselves.

In the professional world and in the online reviews world, however, defending against customers and trying to fight back against negative feedback is exactly the opposite of what you should be! With 4 examples of negative responses to reviews, we show you how you can steer them in the right direction with adequate responses.

First of all, however, keep in mind that responding to negative feedback is built into your strategy for managing the overall customer experience. We've gone into more detail here about the steps you can take to manage the customer experience, but it's important to keep in mind how useful negative feedback can be in helping you better understand your customers.

Responding to negative feedback is a very public demonstration of the quality of your customer experience as your reaction will often be visible online to everyone through social media or online review sites. People will be able to see exactly how much value you attach to your customers when something goes wrong.

So before we look at some examples of negative review responses, we've put together some general guidelines outlining how to behave when responding that will help you improve the overall customer experience.

Some do's and don'ts when responding to negative feedback

1. Never take negative feedback personally

Stay detached from the feedback and look at it objectively by personally disconnecting from the topic. This will help you identify the problem without affecting your judgment. If the negative feedback is related to a specific employee, keep them away from any response so you can give an objective answer.

If you've made a real mistake, it also helps to be transparent and admit it. Don't see it as a criticism, but as an opportunity to learn.

2. Never argue with the customer and always apologize

Even if you don't believe you did something wrong, or if it seems obvious at first glance that the customer is indeed wrong, you should never contradict them. You can't question the customer's experience, and not only can it be difficult to get the full facts of a situation through a quick review, it also looks very unprofessional to have a war of words with your customers online start.

You risk driving away other customers who watch your behavior and then decide that you are not the nicest company to deal with and quickly defecate to one of your competitors.

Instead, apologize immediately. This way, customers know you are ready to take their complaint seriously and give you the opportunity to get all the facts together before offering a bespoke solution to their problem.

Even if you later find out that the complaint was illegitimate or just bait, at least they were professional and polite and tried to help.

3. Recognize the problem quickly

Responding to negative feedback can be like a race against time as we find ourselves in an increasingly technology-dependent and fast-paced world. One study found that 78% of people who complained on social media expected a response within just an hour, and those who complained via other channels typically expected a quick turnaround time of around 24-48 hours .

The consequences of ignoring negative feedback can create the impression that you just don't care or that you are just too busy to notice. Either way, your customers will take note of this and move on to a competitor who has a better relationship with their customers.

4. Keep the answer short and then solve it offline

You don't want to go into too much detail in your first answer. Since the initial response is often public, either on social media or through review summary websites, you don't want to give all the details.

Once you've provided your first answer (ideally using one of our negative review responses sample below), show your customer an alternative solution to their problem. It will be a very rare occurrence if you can draw a satisfactory conclusion from that initial answer. Offer the customer the option to contact them directly, email you, or call them to investigate and investigate the complaint.

It also has the added benefit of personalizing your response and giving the customer the chance to speak to a real person rather than a faceless company.

5. Always answer personally

Always address the customer by name and be varied in your answers. Customers can easily tell when they have a general response that is simply cut and pasted from one complaint to the next.

So, while we recommend using one of our negative review response examples as a starting point, don't try to copy them verbatim for each individual complaint. Take a look at what the customer is saying and try to relate to their specific problem.

6. After you deploy a solution, track the outcome

Try to keep in touch with the customer after resolving their complaint. If you follow up a few weeks after dealing with the complaint, you can improve the original resolution even further. Customers often don't even expect a response to their feedback, so it can often be a welcome surprise when someone drops in to see how they're doing.

If done right, a good follow-up could result in the customer actually promoting you online in the end and promoting you as a great example of how to respond to complaints and negative feedback.

7. Keep the answer customer-specific and avoid certain phrasing

Do not use expressions such as “I think” or “I feel” in your answer. As we learned above, it is impossible for you to know the exact experience the customer just had, so you cannot begin to express your opinion or make your own assumptions about your answer. Do everything about the customer and acknowledge that they have a problem.

Four examples of negative reviews

1. Hello [name],

Thank you for your feedback, we go to great lengths to make every customer experience a pleasant one, and we're really sorry we couldn't meet your expectations this time.

We would like to sort this out asap and find a solution that works for you. Please send us a message directly at this e-mail address and we will discuss this in detail!

[Name - optional]

2. Hello [name],

I'm [name] and I'm the customer service manager. Usually we are known for our exceptional customer experience, so I sincerely apologize for your recent experience with us.

We have your details and will get back to you as soon as possible to try to resolve things. If it is better for you please contact me personally at [phone / email] and I will do my best to resolve your issues.

With best regards


3. Hello [name],

Thank you for your rating, all feedback is important to us, and we are sorry that you had such a disappointing experience.

As I hope you can see from our other reports, your situation is exceptional and far from our usual high standards. We strive all the more to ensure that this is resolved and does not happen again.

Drop our customer service team a message on [email / phone] so that we can provide them with all the details and we promise that we will find a satisfactory solution for you.

With best regards

[Name - optional]

4. Hello [name],

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention and I apologize for the unacceptable way in which you have been treated.

The satisfaction of our customers is our top priority and I would like to ask you for another chance to win them back as a customer.

Please call me at [phone number] or we can contact you ourselves if you prefer.

With best regards


Closing words

Remember, these are just a few examples to get you started. Each complaint will be slightly different depending on the circumstances, so you will have to decide on a case-by-case basis what exactly you want to write. We also recommend that you do not include your company name on your answer. There is a possibility that Google will pick up on this answer and end up with the complaint in the search engine results.

Amazingly, 72% of customers won't do anything about a product or service until they've read a review. When they see a long list of negative reviews that they get no replies to at all, they will definitely start to lose confidence. That is why it is important to be on all Reply to your negative feedback. Each one has the potential to be retained, provides room for improvement, and your responses tell the world exactly how you treat your customers.

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