Learning how to respond to a negative review professionally is required to maintain a positive image and address concerns effectively. It’s so frustrating to receive a less than stellar review when you have been working so hard to build your business.
It doesn’t seem fair, but trust me, the best thing to do in this situation is to put on your best “customer service hat”, and respond to the review on your Google Business Profile (or yelp, or whatever platform it is on) apologizing for the person’s experience….even if they are completely off-base.
Here are some steps you can follow to respond to a negative review:
1. Stay Calm and Objective
Take some time to process the feedback before responding. It is NEVER a good idea to respond while you are still angry about a bad review, no matter how unjust.
You must avoid reacting emotionally or defensively.
2. Put on Your Best Customer Service Hat
Remember that prospective clients read how owners respond to reviews and will make judgments based on how you respond. They will be understanding when they see that the owner’s response is coming from a place of wanting to make improvements or make it right. They are less understanding if your response comes off as petty or unhinged!
You HAVE to write your response knowing that other potential clients will read it. People who read reviews like to see a measured, polite, customer service type response from the business— not a raving, angry denial. You do not have to grovel and beg for forgiveness, but it IS important to do the following things:
- Begin by thanking the person for taking the time to provide feedback.
- Show appreciation for their perspective.
Acknowledge the Feedback:
- Acknowledge the specific points raised in the feedback.
- Demonstrate that you understand the concerns raised.
Apologize if Necessary:
- If the feedback involves a mistake or a negative experience, offer a sincere apology.
- Take responsibility for any errors on your part.
Provide Explanation or Clarification:
- If there is a misunderstanding, provide clarification or additional context.
- Share any relevant information that might help address the concerns.
Offer Solutions or Next Steps:
- Propose practical solutions or steps to address the issues raised.
- Show a commitment to resolving the problem.
Seek Further Clarification:
- If the feedback is unclear, politely ask for more details or examples.
- Ensure you have a thorough understanding of the concerns.
Demonstrate a Commitment to Improvement:
- Clearly communicate your commitment to improving and preventing similar issues in the future.
- Highlight any steps you are taking to address the feedback.
Take the Conversation Offline (if necessary):
- If the issue requires a more in-depth discussion or resolution, offer to continue the conversation privately, such as through email or a direct message.
Maintain Professionalism at all Costs:
- Avoid getting into a public argument or debate.
- Keep your response professional, respectful, and focused on finding a resolution.
Examples of Good Responses to Negative Reviews
A Real-World Example from a Google Review
What I love about this review response:
- It’s a good friendly yet professional tone
- it highlights the goals/standards of her business
- it explains how it works (without seeming argumentative)
- it’s measured and polite…..she’s not groveling or anything close to that
Here are some key things that she does in this response that are important:
- She starts off by thanking for the feedback…
- She grants some concessions to the reviewer….. “the group does look big when all together. “
- She apologizes without saying ‘it’s all our fault’ …. “We are sorry that it was not a positive experience.”
- She invites the reviewer to take it offline… “Please contact me to discuss your student’s issues in more detail and address any other concerns that you have about our summer camp.”
This was the 1 star Review:
“They had enrolled over 50 kids in their camp and with so many kids its difficult to give importance to every individual. I thought they were going to work on my child if they are taking $200, but all they cared about was enrolling quantity without giving any importance to quality of work done. A total disappointment.”
This was the owner’s response:
Thank you for providing your feedback and letting us know how you felt about our summer camp experience. We are very sorry that it was a negative experience, and that you felt the camp wasn’t able to give individual students attention, and that we were not concerned with quality of work done during camp. This is disheartening to hear because our goal at [Company Name] is to give each student an opportunity to shine, to connect with their peers, as well as work closely with industry professionals. Our classes have a minimum of 3 counselors in each class helping one or two instructors work with 14 students in each class. This session we had 17 counselors, 7 instructors, and 42 students. The end of the session performance could certainly look like a lot of kids working on stage at the same time, but when they were learning the musical theater piece, hip hop choreography, stage combat staging, and the mime piece they were in their small groups. The audience was also filled with parents, siblings, and some grandparents, so lots of people for sure were in there as well. Because our goal is to give each student lots of personal time and attention, and you do not feel that happened, please reach out to me personally via email or phone. I would love to get more details about your experience, and I can address any other concerns that you have about our summer camp please contact Artistic Director [name and email address]
Here’s an example template you can customize based on the specific situation:
Dear [Reviewer’s Name],
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We appreciate your honesty and the opportunity to address your concerns. I would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or frustration you may have experienced.
I have carefully reviewed your feedback and understand that [specific concern]. I want to assure you that we take this matter seriously, and I am committed to resolving it promptly.
[Provide additional information, clarification, or steps you are taking to address the issue.]
If there are any further details you would like to share or if you have additional concerns, please feel free to reach out to me directly at [your email address].
Thank you again for bringing this to our attention. We value your input and are dedicated to continuously improving our [product/service].
Remember, the goal is not just to respond to the reviewer but to demonstrate to potential customers that you take feedback seriously and are committed to delivering a positive experience. Managing reviews is an important part of Google Business Profile optimization, since your overall review ranking plays a roll in how well your business will rank. It’s important to respond to all reviews, and continue to ask customers for new reviews as well. More positive reviews will dilute a negative review over time.