Part of being a small business owner is getting feedback from your clients - both positive and negative. While negative reviews can feel discouraging, they are ultimately an opportunity to further connect with clients and show others you're open to feedback. We're here to share a simple recipe for replying to these reviews in respectful, meaningful ways.
*Financial Advisors, be advised that responding to reviews may carry some risk. View the new SEC Marketing Rules here.
Getting negative feedback is hardly pleasant, so when we first see it, our initial response may be frustration or confusion. It’s natural to have the impulse to respond immediately, however, we recommend waiting a bit to avoid emotions taking over and your response coming across as defensive. So when a negative review comes in, read it and come back to it a few hours later, allowing you to still address the review in a timely manner but not risking an overly emotional response.
While we know this is easier said than done, try not to take the negative review personally. It’s tough when your business is very client-centric and you genuinely care about their experience to not feel passionately about the reviews people leave. However, responses must come through level-headed and professional.
In fact, 88% of people surveyed said they would look past negative reviews if they were answered adequately.
It’s important to tailor your response to the reviewer so they feel heard. Open the response with a greeting using their name. You can then go on to thank them for their feedback.
You have a little more freedom with what you want to say next, but here are some great examples of empathetic responses:
It’s okay to personalize the tone of your responses (formal or informal), as long as you remain consistent.
As you noticed in the examples above, there was a call-to-action to discuss the feedback further. While it’s not always necessary, and can vary based on the type of negative feedback, it doesn’t hurt to provide the means.
And most importantly, take the feedback seriously. If the reviewer does take advantage of the opportunity to discuss the issue further, genuinely listen and accommodate the best you can. You never know, they might even update their review.
Think you spotted a fake review? Perhaps it’s a hostile former employee or just a typical internet troll. If it’s on Google, the first thing you should do is flag the review. You can also report a review on Yelp. Unfortunately, this does not guarantee the review being taken down.
If the review you believe to be fake isn’t taken down, you can choose to respond to it like you would any other negative review, or you can present facts. For example:
Sometimes, there might have been some misinformation or miscommunication. Here’s a great real example of answering with facts:
Levitate’s Survey Feature gives you a chance to get an overall pulse on client happiness. It’s a simple and effective way to give your clients a chance to leave feedback before they go to Google/Yelp/Facebook, therefore decreasing the chances of getting a negative review in the first place. And because Google Reviews are becoming increasingly important for businesses, you can use the very same feature to increase your 5-star reviews!
Interested in how Levitate can help you keep your clients satisfied? Schedule a demo to learn more.