“The woman who helped me was obviously clueless. She was rude, too. Even the office decor was depressing. I will never, ever come back here!”

1 Star Review on Yelp

Ouch! Your business just received the review above and the Connectivity platform alerted you that it was posted on a popular review site. Your stomach churns because you know that most of your customers receive knowledgeable, helpful service. Plus, the office is beautiful! That expensive remodeling project is still fresh in your mind.

Negative online reviews are a part of today’s business. Responding to negative reviews is very important, but not everyone knows exactly what to do.

When it comes to responding to customer reviews, there are many types of business owners. Which one are you? Choose from one of the business owner/manager categories below:

Ignore It Nora
Nora Says: No one reads online reviews anyway. Plus the reviewer sounds like a crank. Anyone can see that. It’s a waste of my time to respond to online reviews.

Blast ‘Em Barry
Barry Says:
I will claim my location on Yelp and then…I’m going to give it to them. I will use ALL CAPS and defend my business and my employees. As a classy sendoff, I’ll make sure to insult the reviewer. #winning

Giveaway Gaston
Gaston Says:
I know just how to deal with this unhappy reviewer! I’ll offer a great discount for their trouble, like I always do for one-star reviews. I am sure no one would abuse my kindness in this way. The funny thing is…I have received a lot of one-star reviews lately. Huh.

Sensible Sarah
Sarah Says:
I’ll investigate what happened internally, but on Yelp, I will respond professionally and courteously. I will either message the customer privately or post a public response, apologizing and asking her to give us another chance. And I will thank her for her comments.

And the Winner Is…
Sensible Sarah is taking the correct approach, of course. Remember, when you respond to a negative online review publically, you aren’t just replying to one person. Your answer will be seen by countless potential customers for years to come.

Use this quick guide to help craft your next response to a negative review:

1. Claim your business location on the review site, if you haven’t already.
2. Apologize for the experience the customer received. You can always investigate their claims with your staff offline, but the reviewer’s feelings and feedback matter.
3. Offer to address the issue with your staff. Tell the reviewer you will make sure the problem doesn’t happen again, if you can guarantee that.
4. Use personal and friendly language that sounds natural.
5. Avoid cutting and pasting past responses.
6. Stay positive and avoid defensive language.
7. Thank the reviewer for their comments.

Have a story about responding to an online review? Share it in the comments!

Alex is Connectivity’s VP of Marketing.