What you will learn in this post:

  • Why you should strategically focus on responding to negative feedback about your brand
  • How to approach your response when a customer is dissatisfied
  • Specific phrases that make a customer feel heard and valued
  • Why negative feedback may hold insight you can use to improve your business

Your brand’s success depends highly on what your customers say about you. Today, most of those comments, good and bad, are delivered online for all to see via review sites, social media, and search platforms like Google. Naturally, you want all of your reviews to reflect your brand in a positive light. No matter what you do or how unwarranted you think it may be, negative feedback is inevitable.

Before you panic at the site of a bad review, understand that a customer complaint is actually an opportunity to improve your brand image and engage customers. Since you are bound to receive some bad reviews now and then, your focus should be on strategically responding to these comments.

While every reply should be unique, they should also follow a template that addresses the customer(s) and complaint(s), evokes empathy for the situation, demonstrates an effort to improve, thank the customer, and encourages further communication. Here are seven phrases you we suggest your team use when replying to customer complaints and negative local business reviews, whether online, over the phone or in person.

1. “Hello, it’s nice to meet you. I’ve reviewed your issue.”

Always open your response by directly addressing the customer (by name, if possible) and their concern. Doing so personalizes your reply and shows whoever may be looking that you are paying attention. Also, when initially discussing the customer’s complaint, be specific and concise. This way, anyone else reading the review and your reply can get a clear idea of the problem being addressed.

2. “Certainly”

When replying to customer complaints, use adverbs that communicate certainty and confidence, even if you do not have an immediate answer. For instance, you may write or say, “I do not know but I certainly can check that for you.” Let your customers know you will always do what you can to resolve an issue, no matter what.

3. “I understand…”

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes, and let it be known that, in their position, you would be frustrated, too. Remember, it is not a matter of whether or not you think the complaint is legitimate or justified. Rather, you must take every bad review at face value, since that is what others will see when browsing your reviews online. Display your empathy no matter how you feel about the feedback. This is vastly more important than being “right.”

4. “I’d be happy to…”

One of the best customer engagement strategies is to demonstrate your pleasure in serving your customers. So, when you receive a public complaint, let the customer know that you would be happy to do something, look into something, or offer something to make amends. Words like “happy” and “pleasure” give your response a positive spin, which may soften the blow experienced by the upset customer. And, if potential customers see that your brand represents high-quality customer service, even when something goes wrong, they are more likely to reach out to you or try your products and services.

5. “I will…”

Everyone wants tangible results. It is one thing to be told that someone is looking into your problem, and another thing entirely to be told when exactly you can expect a response or solution. Do not merely tell your customer that you will get back to them. Instead, tell them that you will do so on or by a specific day and time. Make sure to keep this promise, too, as online onlookers will most likely see the date and time you replied to a specific concern.

6. “Thank you.”

Simply put, without your customers, your business wouldn’t exist. Always thank your customer, no matter how scathing the review. If nothing else, their honest feedback may have clued you into a serious problem you were unaware of. These insights can help you make important operational changes that will help you receive good reviews in the future. And, of course, receiving a “thank you,” is always a nice gesture. Help your business thrive by encouraging customers, even those with negative attitudes.

7. “Please let us know…”

Finally, if you want to improve your customer engagement, encourage the reviewer to leave additional feedback after you have resolved their issue (or tried to resolve it). There is no guarantee that they will come back or leave you a positive review, of course. But leaving the door open ensures all your customers know that you want to engage with them.

Implementing variations of these seven phrases when replying to customer complaints will help you understand your customers’ concerns more thoroughly, demonstrate that you care about their experience, and engage with your current and potential customers online. Of course, responding to reviews for hundreds or thousands of locations can be difficult, if not impossible at times without the help of an integrated dashboard for local reviews. Our review manager will notify you whenever you receive a new review across all sites and platforms. It can break down keywords and phrases that indicate patterns of feedback you should address. This will help you craft an optimal response to every review you get.

If you’re ready to take control of your online presence and reputation, contact us for a quick demo of our platform. With an online review management software, you can harness the power of your online reviews. No online review management strategy is scalable or complete without these tools.

Gather local review ranking and scorecards for all your franchises and locations through Rio SEO’s Local Reviews integrated dashboard. Customer reviews are essential in growing your business. A reputation management tool not only helps you manage all your reviews in one place, but it also helps your leverage each review to its fullest potential.  If you’re ready to scale your reputation management in 2020, contact us today to get started.