Oct 14, 2023
Now that everything and everyone is online, getting negative and rude comments is common for a business. And while ignoring such comments can be tempting, doing so will make those reviews seem true. That’s why, as a business owner, you should always reply. But replying with an angry comment of your own can discourage the customer and other interested individuals from patronizing your business. So then, how should you respond to negative comments?
Let’s use this example below:
On Friday, June 3, a customer, who we’ll name “Sarah O.” for this scenario, commented on a restaurant’s Facebook page and said:
Sarah O.: @Restaurant I sent an email for a complaint, but I haven’t received any feedback from you. This is about the dismal service at one of your branches.
On Saturday, June 4, the restaurant responded:
Restaurant: Hi Sarah O., we’re very sorry to hear this. We’ve sent you a direct message to further assist you. Thank you!
Now, let’s break down this example to see what the restaurant did correctly.
Respond as soon as possible
In the example, the restaurant responded to the customer in over 24 hours. This is good as customers generally expect a reply within a week. The longer a page delays replying, the more guilty a business seems.
Use the customer’s name
“Hi, Sarah O.”
The restaurant starts its comment by addressing Sarah by name. Doing so personalizes the business’ response and allows Sarah to feel heard. This also signals to her that the reply won’t be generic and the restaurant took the time to read their comment.
Address the issue and apologize
“we’re very sorry to hear this”
In this simple sentence, the restaurant is showing acknowledgment of the issue and apologizes for it. This is important because it tells Sarah that the restaurant recognizes her experience as truthful. Moreover, the restaurant is taking responsibility for the mistake.
Move the conversation to a private platform
“We sent you a direct message to further assist you with your concern.”
The restaurant then encourages them to move the conversation to a messaging platform, making their conversation more private. This helps avoid other people from joining in the conversation and adding more insult to injury. In addition, Sarah won’t have to go into detail about her complaint in public comments, which helps the restaurant save its reputation.
Thank them for their time
Last, but never least, it’s important to thank them for their feedback. Even if you’re receiving negative feedback, you should be thankful because their comment can help you improve your business.
When responding to negative reviews, what really matters is how well a business can acknowledge its mistakes and take actionable steps to resolve the problem the customer is complaining about. You can do so by using the guideline above. The guideline above is just one of the many ways you can reply to feedback without risking your business’ reputation. The more you reply and the better you handle the situation, the more you can improve your business’ consumer base.