Negative reviews and how you handle customer complaints might be the secret weapon to improving your business. In a perfect world, you would never get complaints or negative reviews, but the occasional one is inevitable in this age of the internet and social media.

If you make the mistake of not handling negative reviews timely, they can quickly spread like wildfire and have a nasty impact on your business.
Negative reviews and feedback need to be handled well. Knowing the potential impact of your response and responding appropriately can prevent damaging your brand’s reputation and avoid getting into online arguments with customers after a negative review. The key is to remain professional, respectful, and to keep an open mind when replying.

The worst-case scenario is the example of Amy’s Baking Company on an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. The owners were so defensive, unable to handle criticism, and so confrontational that their business no longer exists. They believed online bullies were after them, but after watching the episode, you realize the feedback was likely correct.

The first key to receiving negative feedback is to remain professional and non-confrontational – regardless of how inaccurate you might feel the complaint is. Negative online conversations can quickly spread and go viral, putting your business in a worse negative light than the original negative review warranted. You must avoid online fights with your customers and take the high road as a business owner.

There can be a bright side. A customer complaint can be beneficial, as it’s an opportunity to show your company in an even better light and turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied one. Asking questions to understand the problem and offering solutions that meet the customer’s needs can help you win back their loyalty. All it takes is some customer communication and a few proactive steps.

Surprise! Negative Reviews Can Be A Good Thing.

Someone needs to regularly monitor your online reviews sites and respond professionally to both positive and negative reviews. This is a vital part of your online reputation and a significant source of new customers.

Positive reviews help attract new customers; 74.2% of people say positive reviews make them trust a local business more. Negative reviews can hurt a business’s reputation and cause customers to go elsewhere. When a negative one is written, you want to respond proactively, hopefully resulting in them getting a resolution and updating the review.

Responding to reviews is good for customer relations, showing that you care and pay attention to what your customers say about you. 78.6% of potential customers say that seeing management respond to online reviews makes them believe that the local business cares more about them.

If you’re responsible for customer communication and managing customer complaints, you know how tricky it can be to navigate negative reviews online. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and react negatively, but that kind of response could do much more harm than good. Here are some simple tips and strategies for navigating negative reviews to keep your cool and avoid potential damage to your brand’s reputation.

Don’t let your emotions get the best of you! Listen actively and find all the information you can to help resolve the situation.

Ask your customer questions like:

  • What do you mean by…?
  • Could you provide an example?
  • Could you expand on that point further?

And ask yourself questions like:

  • What other information do I need?
  • What am I assuming here?
  • Why is this complaint important?

Listening to and answering unhappy customers can strengthen customer relationships.

Customer feedback is key, no matter what industry you’re in, but restaurants certainly seem to get the majority share. Actively listening to your customers and responding to their complaints can make all the difference in customer retention. After all, customers want to feel heard and appreciated. When you take the time to listen and address their concerns, you are more likely to turn unhappy customers into happy, loyal ones.

Online reviews are essential for small businesses because they help to build trust and credibility with potential customers. People will believe what others say about you more than what you can say. It’s like getting a recommendation from a friend that you trust. But no matter how great you are, eventually, negative reviews will appear. People will take the negative ones with a grain of salt when the positive ones outweigh the negative ones.
Negative reviews can be especially tricky to handle, but they don’t have to make or break your business. Instead of getting into an online fight with a customer, use it to
show them you care and take their feedback seriously. Acknowledge their points and look for ways you can improve the customer experience. You may even offer a solution, a chance to make it right, to show that you value their business.
Customer communication is critical when it comes to strengthening customer relationships. Take the time to listen, respond quickly and sincerely, and show them that you are willing to go above and beyond. This will turn a negative review into a positive one and help build long-term customer loyalty.
By doing this, you’ll be able to take negative reviews and turn them into happy customers! You’ll also build strong relationships and trust with your customers that can last a lifetime. Taking the time to engage with customers honestly and respectfully is one of the best investments you can make for your business. Use customer complaints to show off what makes your company great.

Customer Complaints Are Essential For Building Trust

When you receive customer complaints or negative reviews, the first thing that might come to mind is damage control. You want to prevent any negative reviews or online fights from escalating further to preserve your reputation. However, responding promptly and positively to customer complaints is actually vital for building trust. It shows your customers that you care about their satisfaction and are willing to go out of your way to make them happy.

There are a few steps you can take when responding to customer complaints:

  1. Acknowledge the complaint – Respond in less than 24 hours, acknowledging the issue they have experienced and thank them for bringing it up; let them know that you value their opinion and feedback.
  2. Offer a solution – Show them that you are willing to work with them and provide solutions to the issue. Ideally, you take this offline. Give them a way to contact you directly so you can get more details and find out how they feel it should be resolved
  3. Follow up – Keep in contact with them and follow up regularly to ensure they’re satisfied with the resolution.
  4. Turn negative reviews into positive ones – Ask for feedback after an issue has been resolved. Customers who may have had a negative experience can still leave a positive review about how well you handled their complaint. They may even be able to go in an update with the original review to shine a more positive light.

By following these steps, customers who have experienced issues will be more likely to trust your business and know they can reach out should they ever have another concern or complaint. So don’t shy away from customer complaints! With the right approach, you can turn a negative experience into a positive one and gain even more trust from your customers.

Taking Effective Action On Negative Feedback

If you want to turn customer feedback into actionable improvements, you should keep a few things in mind.

  1. Don’t take criticism personally – It’s important to stay professional and not take customer feedback too personally; it’s about improving your business, not attacking you as an individual.
  2. Listen to what customers have to say. Customers know best, so be sure to listen carefully and try to understand the full context of their complaint or feedback before responding or taking action.
  3. Take action quickly – Show customers that you value their opinion by acting swiftly on their feedback; this will help build trust and make them more likely to return.
  4. Follow through – After you have taken action, follow up to ensure they are satisfied with the changes and that their issue has been fully resolved.

Following these tips will make it easier to turn customer feedback into actionable improvements and keep customers happy. You may even learn something new about your business in the process! So don’t hesitate; use customer complaints as an opportunity to get better and improve your relationship with them.

Your Online Reputation Requires Your Involvement

Your online reputation can quickly get out of control if you aren’t actively participating. By learning how to respond appropriately to negative online reviews and conversations, you can prevent damaging your brand’s reputation and avoid getting into online arguments with customers. Remember, it’s always better to remain professional and respectful and have a customer-centric approach when responding to negative reviews. So take your time, assess the situation, and respond accordingly.

Negative reviews and customer complaints can be a blessing in disguise if you know how to use them correctly. By taking customer feedback and turning it into action, you can create a loyal customer base that will stand by your business through thick and thin.

FREE Review Report Card For Your Business

The first part of using your reviews to increase sales is to know where you stand across your review sites. Click the button below to get a FREE Review and Reputation Report Card for your business.

This software will analyze your business’s rankings across Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp any review site your business is listed, grade your reputation against your competition, and provide a breakdown of your most popular review sites. It’s FREE, has nothing to sign up for, and takes less than 10 seconds. And you can also put in your competitors and see how they rank; just saying

Michael Thibault

Michael Thibault

Known as “The Done For You Marketing Guy for Restaurants.” International Speaker on Restaurant Marketing. Published contributing author of 4 Marketing Books. Industry expert on Google Searches and Review Sites. Recovering Independent Restaurant Owner and Caterer of over 21 years. And, all-around good guy.

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