two men talking at a table

How to Respond to Negative Reviews + 7 Customizable Templates

Does your team have SMART marketing goals in place? Do you have insight into your marketing ROI to maximize spend? Get in touch with us today for a free consultation!

Bad reviews are inevitable. No matter how good your product or service is, there will always be someone who leaves a negative review. And while it's easy to get defensive and lash out, that's usually not the best course of action.

Handling negative reviews well can actually improve your business reputation. You’ll show potential customers that you're a responsive company that cares about your customers. So don't be afraid of bad reviews - use them to your advantage.

Table of Contents

  1. How to Handle Negative Feedback and Customer Reviews
  2. 7 Customizable Templates for Responding to Negative Reviews

How to Handle Negative Reviews or Customer Feedback

When you receive a negative review, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath. It's easy to get defensive, but try to remain calm and professional. Thank the customer for their feedback and let them know that you're taking their concerns seriously. 

Address the issue head-on and try to find a resolution. If there's something you can do to make the situation right, let the customer know what steps you're taking to fix the problem.

It's important to remember that potential customers will be reading your responses, so take the opportunity to show them that you're a business that cares about its customers and is willing to go above and beyond to resolve issues.

Follow these six steps to make sure your response is complete, respectful and fully addresses the root of the problem.

  1. Apologize and empathize
  2. Acknowledge the issue 
  3. Take responsibility
  4. Provide additional information or education
  5. Continue the conversation offline
  6. Resolve the issue

1. Apologize and Empathize

The first step is to apologize. Whether or not your company caused the problem, it's important to express remorse. Something as simple as, "I'm sorry that you had a bad experience," can go a long way.

Then, try to see things from the customer's perspective. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand how they're feeling. This will help you craft a more empathetic response.

2. Acknowledge the Issue

Once you've apologized, it's time to address the underlying issue. This might require some investigation on your part if the customer didn't provide enough information in their review. But you’ll want to let them know you're taking their concerns seriously and are looking into the matter.

3. Take Responsibility

If your company caused the problem, take responsibility. This shows that you're willing to own up to your mistakes and are committed to making things right.

4. Provide Additional Information or Education

In some cases, a negative review may be due to a misunderstanding on the customer's part. If this is the case, provide additional information or education that can help clear things up.

For example, if a customer is unhappy because they didn't receive their order on time, you could explain your shipping policy in greater detail. Or, if a customer is confused about how to use your product, you could provide them with some helpful resources or tutorials.

5. Continue the Conversation Offline

In some cases, it may be best to continue the conversation offline. This is often the case when the issue is complex or sensitive in nature.

If you continue the conversation offline, make sure to follow up with the customer afterward to let them know how you resolved the issue. This will help to build trust and improve your relationship with the customer.

6. Resolve the Issue

Finally, make sure to resolve the issue itself. If a customer didn't receive their order on time, send it out as soon as possible. If a product was defective, provide a replacement or refund. If a customer was unhappy with your service, offer a discount or coupon for their next purchase.

By taking these steps, you can turn a negative review into a positive experience for both you and the customer. Not only will you be able to resolve the issue, but you'll also establish trust and improve customer relationships. And that's always a good thing for business.

7 Customizable Templates for Responding to Negative Reviews

Negative reviews are never fun, but they’re a reality of doing business. The important thing is how you respond to them.

With that in mind, we've created seven customizable templates for responding to negative reviews. Use these templates as-is or modify them to your specific situation.

  1. I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience. We're committed to providing the best possible service, so I'll be sure to pass on your feedback to our team. If there's anything we can do to make things right, please let us know.
  2. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We're sorry that you had a negative experience and would like to make things right. We'll be in touch soon to resolve the issue.
  3. Hello [customer name], I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience. We're constantly striving to improve our service, so we appreciate your feedback. Please allow us to do better and shop with us again using this 20% off coupon code.
  4. Thank you for letting us know about your negative experience, [customer name]. We're sorry that we didn't meet your expectations and would like to make things right. Please email us at [contact information] so we can resolve the issue.
  5. I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with our product. We stand behind our quality, so we’d like to send you a replacement free of charge.
  6. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We're sorry that you had a negative experience with our service. We would appreciate the opportunity to serve you again so we can provide the 5-star service our customers deserve. Please contact us at [email] and allow us to book your next reservation with a 15% discount.
  7. We’re sorry to hear you haven’t received your purchase. Given that our standard shipping window has passed, we are happy to send you a replacement. Please expect your package to arrive within 7-12 days. Thank you.

Social media comments and online reviews are a great way to engage your customers and leverage social proof to cultivate trust around your brand. When someone leaves a negative review, however, your business reputation is on the line.

Engaging with customers is an excellent way to dispel untruths, discredit rumors and show your customers that you are attentive to their needs and requests. Give these templates a try next time you encounter a less-than-favorable review!

Topics: client retention