The Wrong Way to Respond to Negative Online Reviews

Yesterday in the Twitterverse, @kenherron sent out a tweet questioning, “Should brand try to respond to negative social comments?”  Of course, my response to this was a resounding yes, as I believe all comments, regardless of nature should be dealt with.  Later on that evening, during a search for a new sectional sofa, I stumbled across a review site for a furniture store that immediately began sending out red flags.  The website in question was receiving several negative online reviews, and their responses to these reviews were less than satisfactory, they were downright insulting.

Can Negative Online Reviews Create a Positive Brand Image?

The internet has changed the world in obvious ways and one of the most important has been the ability for customers to publicly praise or destroy a brands reputation online depending on the satisfaction they’ve experienced dealing with a business.  When accepting online reviews, a brand can expect to receive a number of negative reviews.  The beauty of social media and online reviews, is that most websites will allow you to publicly resolve any negative reviews for potential customers to see.

In this instance the brand in question made some major mistakes, that not only left the customer feeling insulted, but immediately turns away any potential customer from working with them.  Before I go any further, check out a few screen shots of this company’s responses to their online reviews on the website.



The majority of reviews that this company received appeared to be positive; however, when a negative review did appear, just about every response that the company posted was either blaming the customer or down right insulting.  The first image shown above was about as bad as it gets.  Not only did the company blame the customer for the negative experience, but then proceeded to insult the customer asking them “Why do not you go to college to learn how to place an order online properly???””

To see these reviews for yourself, visit Reseller Ratings by clicking here.

Online Reviews – It’s All in How You Handle It

I have always advocated that any review, whether positive or negative, posted online can be used to increase trust in a brand, especially when a negative review is handled well and the customer who posted it ends up receiving a positive resolution to their issue.  In a situation like this, it is more important to take responsibility for any issues the customer may have had, so long as they are legitimate, then offer a positive solution to the problem.  This benefits your brand in two ways:

  • The complaining customer is offered a solution to their problems, which can potentially lead to a positive review replacing the negative one
  • Potential customers get the opportunity to see your company offer a solution to this customers issue publicly, reinforcing trust in your brand

When faced with negative online reviews, if the situation is handled properly your customer and your brand come out of everything as winners.  When complaints and negative online reviews are handled with finger pointing and insulting your customers you end up shining a negative light on an otherwise positive image.

Have you received negative reviews online on review websites like Google or Yelp?  What about Facebook or Twitter?  How have you handled these issues?  Leave a comment and let me know how you resolved the situation!

Taylor Clark is a web designer, internet marketing expert and blogger from Gonzales, LA. Taylor has been working with small business owners and entrepreneurs to improve their online marketing strategy through use of social media, website marketing, PPC advertising and much more.

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