UGC & Reviews

Answering to Negative Reviews: How to turn critics into brand advocates

Let’s talk about online reputation management today. Nobody likes receiving negative reviews. They sting, they bruise, and sometimes they leave a lasting mark on your brand's reputation. So how do you answer ?
Answering to Negative Reviews: How to turn critics into brand advocates

Our mission here is to give you tips to respond to negative reviews like a pro.

We'll show you how to gracefully turn the tides, transforming detractors into loyal fans, and even leveraging their feedback to improve your business.

In this article, we will break down the do's and don'ts of responding to negative reviews (whether on Google or every other platforms), complete with concrete examples that will make your mind go "Oh !

Why respond to negative reviews?

To begin, let me paint a picture for you with some enlightening statistics. 

A staggering 95% of shoppers diligently scour online reviews before reaching for their wallets. 

Yes, you heard it right. 

These savvy shoppers seek reassurance, guidance, and a sprinkle of social proof before making a purchase. 

But here's the twist - 72% of them won't even consider hitting that "Buy Now" button until they've read a review

So encouraging your customers to leave reviews is crucial for your business.

Check out this post to learn how to ask your customers for reviews (with templates and examples).

But your customers have opinions. And today more than ever, people are sharing them, both good and bad.

So, why is it essential to respond to negative reviews, you ask? 

Janet Machuka's tweet about negative review's opportunity to improve

A thoughtful response to a negative review holds remarkable significance. 

It's like that moment at a dinner party when a guest raises a concern about the appetizers. Ignoring it would leave a bitter taste lingering in the air, but addressing it with grace and sincerity could turn the tide and leave everyone applauding your finesse. 

Similarly, by engaging with dissatisfied customers, we have the power to limit the impact of negative reviews on our company's reputation, and dare I say, even turn those unhappy souls into beacons of satisfaction. 

So, grab your pen and paper (or digital equivalent) as we embark on a journey of mastering the art of answering negative reviews. 

Trust us, it's a skill worth honing.

The Do's and Don'ts of responding to negative reviews

Now that we understand the importance of responding to negative customer reviews, let's uncover the secret formula for crafting the perfect response. 

6 do's and 6 dont's of answering negative reviews on Google

The Do's of Responding to Negative Customer Reviews

1. Respond promptly and professionally

Time is crucial in addressing negative reviews. Show that you value customer feedback by promptly responding and maintaining a professional tone.

A timely response demonstrates your commitment to addressing concerns and resolving issues promptly.

2. Show empathy and understanding

Put yourself in the customer's shoes and acknowledge their concerns. Demonstrate empathy and a genuine desire to resolve the issue.

Use empathetic language to let the customer know that their experience matters to you and that you understand the frustration they may have faced.

3. Offer practical solutions

Provide specific solutions to address the customer's concerns, showing that you are committed to finding a resolution and improving their experience.

Offer step-by-step instructions, troubleshooting tips, or alternative options to show that you are actively working towards resolving the issue.

4. Personalize your responses

Avoid generic templates or copy-pasting. Tailor each response to the specific issues raised in the review, showing that you genuinely care and are attentively addressing the situation.

Use the customer's name, reference their specific concerns, and offer personalized assistance to make them feel valued and heard.

5. Take the conversation offline when necessary

Some issues are better resolved privately. When faced with complex or sensitive matters, kindly request the customer to continue the discussion through private channels, ensuring their privacy and fostering a more personalized resolution.

Provide contact information or direct them to a dedicated support channel where they can receive one-on-one assistance.

6. Highlight your commitment to customer satisfaction

Reinforce your dedication to excellent customer service and satisfaction through your responses. Let customers know that their feedback matters and that you strive to continuously improve.

Express your gratitude for their feedback and emphasize that their experience is of utmost importance to your company's values and goals.

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The Don'ts of Responding to Negative Customer Reviews:

1. Don't get defensive or take it personally

Negative reviews can be challenging to handle, but it's essential not to let emotions cloud your judgment.

Stay calm and professional, focusing on finding a resolution rather than engaging in a defensive argument. Remember that it's not about personal attacks but about addressing the customer's concerns.

2. Avoid public arguments or heated exchanges

Remember that the online world is watching. Engaging in public arguments or trading barbs with unhappy customers will only reflect poorly on your brand.

Maintain a respectful and constructive tone throughout the conversation. Avoid any language or behavior that may escalate the situation or create a negative perception of your company.

3. Don't ignore or delay responses

Every negative review deserves attention. Ignoring or delaying responses can further damage your brand's reputation.

Act promptly, even if it's just to acknowledge the customer's concerns while you gather more information. Timely acknowledgment shows that you take customer feedback seriously and are committed to addressing their issues.

4. Avoid canned responses

Customers can sense insincerity from miles away. Avoid using generic templates or robotic responses. Personalize each reply to show that you genuinely care about their feedback and are committed to addressing their concerns.

Use specific details from the review to demonstrate that you have read and understood their situation.

A man saying '"I am ignoring you" to negative reviews

5. Refrain from sharing private information publicly

Protect your customers' privacy by avoiding any public discussion of personal details or sensitive information. If necessary, guide the conversation to a private channel to ensure a more confidential resolution.

Respect customer privacy and ensure that any further communication takes place in a secure and appropriate environment.

6. Don't underestimate the power of a well-crafted response

Your response can influence potential customers who are reading reviews. Craft thoughtful and persuasive replies that showcase your dedication to customer satisfaction, leaving a positive impression.

Use positive language, express your willingness to resolve the issue, and invite the customer to continue the conversation elsewhere to demonstrate your commitment to excellent customer service.

By following these do's and steering clear of the don'ts, you'll navigate the delicate art of responding to negative reviews with finesse. 

Each review becomes an opportunity to build trust, enhance your brand's reputation, and ultimately turn dissatisfied customers into happy ones. 

Now, let's delve into the next section, where we'll explore concrete examples that will inspire you to craft impactful responses.

Mario Kägo's tweet about negative review's opportunity

How to automate responses to negative reviews?

A recent study by Partoo shows that e-tailers need support to respond to the ever-increasing number of reviews.

Although 34% of reviews are still processed manually, it is noticeable that retailers are increasingly automating the response to reviews:

  • 33% via templates,
  • 18% via automatic responses
  • and 12% via artificial intelligence.

Survey by Partoo on how retailers answer to reviews

Partoo offers a solution for easy management of e-reputation by responding to reviews manually, via templates, via automatic responses or via artificial intelligence. 

4 examples of answers to negative reviews

Here are 4 examples of negative reviews on fictional products, for which we share with you the type of answers we could have given in return.

Negative review #1: XYZ smartphone

The review: 

"This XYZ smartphone is a complete disappointment! The battery drains within hours, and the camera quality is abysmal. I regret my purchase."

Our suggested response:

Dear [Reviewer's Name],

Thank you for sharing your experience with the XYZ smartphone. We're sorry to hear that it didn't meet your expectations. We understand the importance of a reliable battery life and excellent camera quality in a smartphone. We'd like to help resolve this issue for you. Please reach out to our customer support team at [contact information] so we can investigate further and find a suitable solution. We appreciate your feedback as it helps us improve our products and provide a better user experience.

Best regards,

Negative review #2 : ABC vacuum cleaner

The review: 

"The ABC vacuum cleaner I purchased barely picks up any dirt! It's frustrating to spend so much money on a product that doesn't deliver on its promises."

Our suggested response:

Hi [Reviewer's Name],

Thank you for sharing your disappointment with the ABC vacuum cleaner. We apologize for the inconvenience caused. We understand the frustration of not getting the expected performance. To improve the cleaning efficiency, we recommend trying the following steps: [provide specific tips on optimizing the vacuum cleaner's performance, such as checking the suction power, cleaning or replacing filters, or adjusting the brush height]. We hope these suggestions will enhance your experience with the product. If you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at [contact information]. Your feedback is essential as we continually strive to improve our products and provide the best possible customer experience.

Warm regards,

Negative review #3 :  PQR fitness tracker

The review: 

"The PQR fitness tracker is a waste of money! It constantly gives inaccurate readings, and the battery life is terrible. I'm extremely disappointed."

Our suggested response:

Dear [Reviewer's Name],

We appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns about the PQR fitness tracker. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by inaccurate readings and poor battery life. Ensuring the accuracy and reliability of our products is of utmost importance to us. We kindly request that you get in touch with our customer support team at [contact information] so that we can investigate the issue further and provide a satisfactory resolution. Your feedback is invaluable as we continuously strive to enhance our products and deliver the best experience possible.

Thank you for your understanding.


Negative review #4 : ABC Restaurant

The review: 

"I had the worst dining experience at ABC Restaurant. The food was tasteless, the service was slow, and the overall atmosphere was disappointing. I will never visit this place again."

Our suggested response:

Dear [Reviewer's Name],

We apologize for your disappointing experience at ABC Restaurant. We've taken immediate action to address your concerns by revamping our menu and enhancing our service standards. We invite you to give us another chance to make it right. As a token of our commitment, we would like to offer you a [X]% discount on your next visit to try our revamped menu. Please contact us at [contact information] to make your reservation. We value your feedback and appreciate the opportunity to serve you better.

Best regards,

By offering alternative solutions and suggestions specific to the issues raised in the negative reviews, you can provide customers with immediate troubleshooting options and demonstrate your commitment to resolving their concerns.

Remember, addressing negative reviews in a proactive and helpful manner showcases your dedication to customer satisfaction and helps foster trust in your brand.

Unhappy Lego leaving negative reviews

Remember, receiving negative reviews is not a sign of failure but rather a testament to our willingness to learn and improve. 

In fact, a perfect score of 10/10 may raise eyebrows and skepticism, as it can appear too good to be true.

Research supports this notion, revealing that the likelihood of purchase tends to peak when ratings fall between 4.0 and 4.7 (according to Medill Spiegel Research Center).

The financial impact of displaying reviews

It seems that customers seek authenticity and recognize that no product or service is flawless. It is in this sweet spot of imperfection that growth and opportunity reside.

Remember that imperfections and improvements fosters trust, authenticity, and ultimately, success.

With negative reviews, we can unlock enhance our company's visibility and credibility, on the web, on Google and on social networks.

When we respond to negative reviews with care, empathy, and actionable solutions, we demonstrate our commitment to customer satisfaction and turn unhappy customers into loyal advocates.

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