Online reviews heavily influence a consumer’s decision to buy from your business. Positive reviews are great for sales. And they bolster your online reputation management efforts.

By generating personalized responses and continuously monitoring feedback, businesses can mitigate the damage caused by negative customer reviews and use them as catalysts for improvement.

This blog has the 7 strategies for managing negative customer reviews. We’ll even show you how to turn negative customer reviews into positive branding. 

What is a negative customer review?

A negative customer review is any feedback that paints your brand in an unfavorable light. Research suggests that any starred review below 4 might turn off future customers. 

In truth, consumers are more understanding than you may think. They know things happen. Your response to negative customer feedback sways potential customers more than the review itself. 

Understanding the psychology behind negative customer reviews

Negative feedback can be a blow to your customer retention efforts. And you should make every effort to get to the bottom of why customers are unhappy. 

After all, unhappy customers are more likely to share their experiences than satisfied customers. 

Not only that, a negative customer review leaves a lasting impression. Studies show that it can take at least 12 experiences to undo the impact of one unresolved, bad experience. 

Promptly addressing negative customer feedback is the best way to neutralize its power to damage your online reputation. 

Having good and bad reviews is normal. That’s what Jay Baer, Customer Experience & Digital Marketing Expert and the author of the book, Hug Your Haters, told us in Birdeye View 2023

Human psychology proves that a customer is likelier to share a bad review than a good one because we tend to feel the negative experience more intensely. 

Though often unwelcome, bad reviews can be important for several reasons. Baer opines that customer service and customer experience are marketing.

This image is for the blog on negative customer review. The pic depicts Jay Baer's quote when he spoke at Birdeye View 2023. Birdeye helps businesses improve their customer experience. Read the blog for more.

7 Steps of how to respond to negative reviews

Routine action and immediate review responses are how you publicly prioritize customer satisfaction. Discover effective review-response strategies below to address negative feedback. And take the steps to solidify your commitment to customer service.

1. Act promptly

The longer you wait to respond to negative reviews, the more damage they’ll do to your brand. Respond quickly and communicate that consumers’ concerns matter. You’ll show that you pay attention and value their input. 

You’ll also prevent hot-topic escalations when you show up and respond promptly to negative customer feedback.

This image is for the blog on negative customer review. The pic depicts Birdeye's review on a review platform. Birdeye helps businesses improve their customer experience. Read the blog for more.

2. Express empathy

Be genuine about apologizing for your customers’ frustrations. Copy-and-paste, generic responses won’t have the empathy needed. Authentic and compassionate responses will publicly recognize their poor experience and provide validation for the negative experience. Make sure, too, they feel heard to diffuse tensions.

3. Take the conversation offline

Don’t get into the back-and-forth online, airing the gritty details of the complaint online. Instead, get specific about the issue with the reviewer offline

  • Acknowledge the problem publicly, then take the conversation private. 
  • Ask them to join you on a call or email them privately. 

That’s where you’ll dig into the details and negotiate the best way forward.

4. Find a solution the problem

It’s important that before you throw any refunds or solutions at your customer, you acknowledge the root concern. From there, you can offer insights into how your business plans to resolve the issue. 

Being proactive with potential solutions and support showcases that you care – about them and about resolving the issue. 

  • Take a structured approach to solving problems.
  • Outline your action plan. 
  • Follow through on each action. 

5. Highlight your strengths

Seize this negative feedback opportunity to introduce other, more positive, aspects of your business. Remind the unhappy customer about what your company does well. Maybe this includes notable awards or achievements. 

And it can always include your brand’s commitment to top-notch client satisfaction. By emphasizing your strengths, you’ll remind them that it’s not so bad doing business with you. It subtly reminds them, too, about the qualities your business values. 

This image is for the blog on negative customer review. The pic depicts Birdeye's review on a review platform. Birdeye helps businesses improve their customer experience. Read the blog for more.

6. Offer compensation

Sometimes, all you really need to do to turn a negative customer experience into a positive customer experience is offer compensation. 

A refund is always going to be a good idea. It demonstrates goodwill and respect. It’s also a genuine commitment to addressing the concerns of a negative reviewer. 

Discounts, freebies, and refunds usually rebuild trust in the business-customer relationship. And it certainly encourages the consumer to give your business another shot.

7. End on a positive note

  • Always wrap up your customer conversations, online and offline, with respect, positivity, and appreciation. 
  • Be thankful for the opportunity to make things right. 
  • Emphasize that their reviews help you improve your customer service. 
  • Reassure the reviewer that you care what they think and continuously strive for improvement.

These 7 practical methods for responding to negative reviews demonstrate your empathy, professionalism, and service commitment. Using these tips, you can make negative customer reviews work favorably. 

If you want to use these strategies and discover more examples, check out how to respond to negative reviews  – a business owner’s guide that discusses bad reviews from consumers. 

Turn Negative Customer Reviews into Positive with Birdeye AI-driven Platforms

Want to see the impact of Birdeye on your business? Watch the Free Demo Now.

Are 3-star rating reviews always negative?

On the surface, a 3-star rating is satisfactory or average. But to your future customers, too many 3-star ratings are suspect. A study by Harvard Business Review revealed that 3-star evaluations can give you valuable insights and information.

That’s why you need to analyze three-star reviews. You’ll probably spot recurring themes and patterns. Then, you can make changes to bump those mediocre reviews into shining, 4-star positive feedback. 

Read our blog about handling negative reviews to turn dissatisfied customers into loyal ones. 

The hallmark of negative customer reviews and how they can help your business grow

Negative customer reviews can be demoralizing. It helps to remember they’re also an opportunity to improve. Customer feedback is also an excellent way to learn where your company stands regarding product quality, delivery, and service. 

Some of the ways negative customer reviews positively impact your business when handled well include:

Enhance customer service

Negative online reviews usually focus on customer service. They’re an opportunity to re-evaluate and improve. 

Companies can improve customer service, reputation management practices, and employee training through assessing consumer feedback. 

Resolve product issues

Negative customer reviews usually shed light on product-related issues. When customers complain about a service or product, you get insight into the items’ efficacy, quality, and usability. 

Timely handling of customer complaints shows your company’s dedication to quality. You can make changes that will benefit all of your customers by responding to the concerns of your most vocal critics.

Streamline service delivery

Negative reviews highlight problems or inefficiencies. With this information, a company can better serve its clientele and compete in the marketplace.

This image is for the blog on negative customer review. The pic depicts Birdeye's review on a review platform. Birdeye helps businesses improve their customer experience. Read the blog for more.

Room for growth

A negative comment allows you to address issues. You can issue remedies and acknowledge the problem to ensure future customer happiness. 

Enhancing a consumer’s experience shows others that your business cares. Incorporating improvements based on online reviews will increase customer loyalty. 

Business owners can improve the overarching customer service experience in a couple of key ways. First, analyze your reviews and look to spot any recurring issues. Look for any not-so-great customer service trends, too.

You can use these insights to streamline operations, address service delivery hiccups, and optimize processes that impact the consumer journey. 

Use AI to turn negative reviews into positives

Birdeye’s AI-powered customer experience platform, like Reviews helps you run your business more efficiently. 

The benefits of AI reputation management platforms like Birdeye Reviews empower you to tackle negative customer reviews and 

  • Auto-generate review responses to each customer review
  • Automate the process by responding to customer reviews using pre-fixed templates and rules
  • Translate reviews to respond in your customers’ language
  • Generate a review summary to get an overview of reviews received
  • Rephrase review responses that are on-brand and thoughtful without grammatical errors

Here’s what Melissa Cameron, SVP of Customer Acquisitions, National Storage Affiliates, shared at Birdeye View 2023 during the session about ‘Harnessing the Power of AI & Automation for Customer Feedback,’ 

This image is for the blog on negative customer review. This is a quote by Melissa on Birdeye View 2023. Birdeye helps businesses improve their customer experience. Read the blog for more.

Know more about Birdeye pricing based on your specific business requirements. 

FAQs on negative customer reviews

How do you handle negative customer comments?

Be proactive. Offer immediate solutions (or at least some options) to address the customer’s concern. Apologize and move the conversation offline to privately resolve the issues. 

Are all negative reviews bad?

Negative reviews are as inevitable as taxes, but they’re not all bad. The bad-review silver lining is that you can leverage negative reviews to improve your products and overall user experience. Negative reviews are the key to improving your customer service.

What’s an example of a negative customer review? 

It’s fairly common to see a negative customer review when a product doesn’t perform as intended. Other common customer complaints include dissatisfaction with customer service, shipping problems, or unacceptable service results.

What’s an example of bad customer service on a negative review? 

It would be a mistake to ignore a negative review. It’s also a serious sign of bad customer service if you become argumentative with a bad reviewer. 

Handle negative customer reviews the way you handle positive ones

Negative customer reviews are brilliant opportunities for your teams and businesses to grow and improve. Addressing issues and being proactive about your response efforts can improve the user experience. Remember that learning from mistakes is part of achieving success and progress. 

If you want to learn how successful review management is and how to put customer reviews to use in your business, Birdeye Insights can help. For your business, we can make it happen.

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