To Respond or Not to Negative Reviews: That is the Question

June 15, 2016

The negative review. A nightmare for businesses, especially when they come in at high frequencies. How your business responds to these reviews can make our break your online reputation. But what is the right way to deal with a negative review online? Many believe you should reach out via direct message, in private, and open up a discussion. Others believe that you shouldn’t even respond at all.

I believe that you should respond openly, in the same public forum that the negative comment was created.

I recently stumbled upon an article on written by Phil La Duke, (sorry Phil don’t mean to put you on blast) the article suggests that businesses should not respond to negative posts about their company.

Phil says, “the temptation to try to set the record straight in print can be tremendous, but doing so usually ends in disaster.” 

This opens up a very large question and I hope some of you reading this will comment.

What is your feeling when you see a negative review? And what do you think it says about the business who just leaves it hanging out there?

My first response is, "wow this business either hasn’t seen this or this business could absolutely care less about their customers."

I think it’s important to remember that while this customer who's bashing your company may have “a couple screws loose” (as La Duke suggests) it’s the silent web browsers who are current or potential customers reading these reviews that are being convinced one way or another based on your actions and choice of words... or lack there of. 

I personally think leaving a negative review alone or reaching out to the person by phone or direct message is doing the opposite of what social media demands. Take advantage of this uncomfortable situation by showing others who are reading these negative reviews that you strive for quality, and although you can’t always satisfy your customers, you do your very best to reply and attempt to rectify each issues that arises while conducting business.

Don’t get me wrong, there needs to be an art to this response. I’ve seen business owners get defensive, but let’s remember the old cliché "the customer is always right.” This is not an opportunity to bash a customer or prove they are wrong. It’s an opportunity to show maturity and a genuine belief that you can satisfy the unhappiest of customers.

Still, I want YOUR opinion... What should businesses be doing?

To respond or not to respond, that is the question...