Retail and Customer Experience : News & Best Practices

How do you respond to negative customer reviews?

Hardly any company is spared from negative customer reviews. But even if it's never pleasant to receive them, the good news is that they sometimes harm the image and performance of the company concerned, especially when the company takes the time to respond correctly.

Good management of customer dissatisfaction can help to win back up to 70% of unhappy customers, and according to a study by Bain & Co., companies that reduce customer infidelity by just 5% increase their profits by between 25% and 80%.

Why respond to negative customer reviews?

Whether they are addressed to you personally or published freely on public feedback sites, it is essential to take the time to respond to each negative customer review.

Apart from the advantages listed above, not responding to a dissatisfied customer's review is tantamount to telling them that their opinion and feedback need to be more important to you to merit a response. But unhappy customers generally only want one thing: to be heard.
Show the customer that their opinion has been taken into account and that you will do everything possible to resolve their problem in many cases.

This will be enough to ease tensions.

Write a reply within 48 hours.

At a time when instantaneity and real-time communication are the order of the day, consumers expect increasingly rapid responses, including in their interactions with businesses.

So, respond to a customer review before 48 hours. This will show that you listen carefully to what your customers say and know how to react quickly to satisfy them. To help you in this process, appoint a customer review manager, whose role will be to ensure that any dissatisfaction is dealt with quickly.

Customer review management solutions, such as WizVille, can also help by bringing together all your customer reviews on a single platform, whether collected via satisfaction surveys or published directly by your customers on your Facebook or Google My Business pages. Automated dissatisfaction alerts inform you in real-time of any negative customer reviews.

Provide a human and personalized response.

Wherever possible, write a personalized response. Standardized responses, still too often used by large companies, could be more impersonal and give the impression of having been written by robots.

To save time, you can use standard messages as a basis, providing a response structure that you can personalize with the customer's first name, the problem raised and the solution you are considering. A personalized response may be necessary for significant dissatisfactions and more complex cases.

Remember to include a signature with at least your name and job title: this adds a human touch to the customer's experience and gives you more authenticity.

Offer a solution tailored to the customer's situation.

Your message should, of course, include an apology for the problem perceived by the customer, but also, and above all, the solution you intend to provide, whether this is personal compensation or a change of policy that will affect all your customers. In some cases, it may be helpful to invite the customer to contact you again by telephone or email to obtain more information about their case.

Depending on whether the problem reported has been caused by a third party (supplier, delivery person, etc.), is of internal origin or is directly related to the customer's behavior, several types of solution and degrees of compensation can be envisaged: from simply listening to the customer to reimbursement or additional financial compensation. Be careful not to abuse discount vouchers and other gifts, which can undoubtedly help you win back a disappointed customer but can also encourage other consumers to post false negative reviews to obtain the same compensation.

Whatever solution you choose, once the problem has been resolved, don't hesitate to ask customers to re-rate their experiences so that you have an overall satisfaction rating that illustrates the reality of the services offered by your company. Most of them will gladly accept!

To further manage your negative customer reviews, find out more about the five types of dissatisfied customers and the best way to manage their dissatisfaction.