If you’re collecting reviews, there’s simply no way to get around the fact that you’re going to get some bad ones. You’re also going to get plenty of good ones.
Smart merchants know that both positive and negative reviews are opportunities for your business.
That’s why in this post, we’re going to show you what to do when you get good reviews, bad reviews, and flat-out crazy reviews.
Let’s start with the good ones…
The one where you’re all good
Okay, so you got a glowing review — you shouldn’t need to do anything other than bask in your good review-ness, right?
The positive review is just the starting point. Here’s how you should respond:
- Thank your customer: reply to the review and let them know you sincerely care about their business. Hopefully, they’ll feel the same way, and become repeat shoppers. Pro Tip: by replying to the review publicly, your current and future customers will be able to see that you are engaged with both your business and your customers.
- Mention your business name: As search engines use reviews as part of their rankings, getting more of your brand name out there can only help your search performance. If you’re really skilled, you can try and get a keyword in there too. Something like: “Thank you for shopping at examplefootwear.com! I’m so glad you liked your flip-flops!”
- Give them a reason to come back: This might mean mentioning an upcoming sale, telling them something cool about the product (e.g. “Those flip-flops are actually hand-made in New Mexico!”), or simply expressing your hope that you’ll see them again soon. In any case, keeping your brand top-of-mind is crucial, and any way you can do it works.
If you do all that, you should be leveraging your good reviews into even more business.
The one where you messed up
If you’re selling online, this can happen. You ship the wrong size. You ship the wrong item. An item gets damaged in the mail. Things arrive late.
We get it. There’s no shame in this happening, but there is shame in not doing anything about.
Here’s how to do damage control:
- Admit that you messed up: like any relationship, sometimes the first step to resolving problems is to just own up to the mistake. This is true even if technically it wasn’t your fault (e.g. if it was the package delivery company messing up). If you accept the blame and apologize, you’ll make your customer feel validated.
- Stress that this isn’t business as usual: it’s important to let the customer know that this isn’t how things normally go down. Because review responses are public-facing, it will let other potential customers know as well.
- Offer a fix, then take it offline: the key here is to both let the customer (and anyone reading the response) know you’ll be taking care of them — while also avoiding getting into a long back and forth. If a customer complains about an item arriving broken, you’d want to say something like, “I’m truly sorry your flip-flops arrived broken. As we pride ourselves on customer service here at examplefootwear.com, we find this unacceptable. We’d like to send you a new pair via Next Day Priority Mail. Can you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can resolve this together?“
Sidebar: Why you shouldn’t delete a bad review
You might be tempted to just delete your negative review, or deny that what the customer is saying is true. This isn’t good look for a number of reasons.
First, the presence of negative reviews is important for your brand. It shows you’re a real business, and haven’t astroturfed your reviews.
Second, denying what a customer is saying can easily blow up in your face, damage your brand, and cost you a whole lot more to fix than a simple apology.
The one where you didn’t mess up
Sometimes, you get a review so off-base, so full of lies that you don’t really know what to do. Maybe a customer claims they made orders they never did, or that you charged more than they said.
In any case, this is when it’s super important to use a third-party review platform. (A third-party review platform is one where the reviews are collected, monitored, and displayed by an outside company.)
If you’re simply hosting your own reviews, you don’t have a trusted third-party to take your complaint to in this situation. Then you’re faced with an unfortunate choice: delete the review, and risk looking like you’re covering something up, or leave the falsehoods up on the internet for everyone to see.
Now it’s clear why you need a third-party here to mitigate the claims. In that case, it’s pretty simple.
- Submit a removal request: let your review platform know that this review is not legitimate, and supply any evidence you might have (like invoices and orders) that contradict the review. From there, the review platform should delete the bogus review ASAP!
One last thing to keep in mind is that your responses to reviews, no matter how long, should be relatively short. No one wants to read an essay. Aim to keep your responses to around 3 sentences if you can. Focus on what’s important, and put into words!