In our blog we share information on social media, SEO, web analytics and more to help grow your business online!

Tennis Marketing: Responding to a Negative Review by a Customer

Do you read online reviews for businesses?

We certainly do! With sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Facebook, it has never been easier to find online customer reviews for businesses. According to a survey by Bright Local, 86% of consumers read online reviews of local businesses. Compared to the previous year, substantially more consumers searched daily, weekly and monthly for local businesses this year.

Since all businesses make mistakes, that can sometimes result in a negative review. Often times, a negative review does not even have anything to do with a mistake, but rather, uncontrollable event (e.g. your tennis event gets rained out) or different tastes (e.g. your award winning coach ends up not being a good match for a student).

Whether this negative reviews are deserved or not your business may suffer and affect your ability to gain new customers online. While you cannot control what people write, you can control how you respond!

A study conducted by Harvard Business Review shows that responding to customers' reviews results in better ratings. It is suggested that this is so due to the fact that people prefer to avoid confrontations. So, customers who see that management responds to reviews are hesitant to leave negative online reviews to avoid uncomfortable public interactions with the business' management.

With that in mind, here are few ideas on how to respond and make the best out of the worst negative review.

Acknowledge, thank and apologize

Even if you think you did not do anything wrong, you cannot argue your customer's experience and how they feel about it is not real. It is not advisable to ever argue in public. Sympathize with their situation and simply say "We are sorry you had a bad experience." Additionally, you should thank them for writing the review (for both negative and positive), since their review can often help with improving your customer experience by giving you a feedback of something you were not aware of.

Do not go into great details

Briefly talk about the customer's concern (this shows you are paying attention to details and your are not just copy/pasting a standard response). If possible, contract the reviewer's bad experience with what customers normally experience: "We are usually known for our exceptional customer service and we regret we did not live up to those expectations in this case."

Move it offline

It is unlikely that the reviewer's bad experience and negative review can be resolved online, so aim to take the conversation offline. For example, provide contract information and name of your company's representative: "If you are open to discussing this further, please call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx and ask to speak with Jane, our Tennis Programs Coordinator. We would appreciate the opportunity to make things right and work towards earning your business back."

Less is more

Keep the response short - 3-4 sentences would be enough. Do not get defensive, ask questions, or try to address every single thing written in the review - writing long responses can sometimes legitimize the complaint. Avoid saying anything that could upset that reviewer more and let them want to add more negative details to their review.

You have responded! Now what?

Make it right if you can but always do it offline. Doing so shows the larger audience that is reading your reviews that you are committed to rectifying the situation, but at the same time you are not encouraging others to post negative reviews just to get a freebie. It is very important to continue monitoring your online reviews. You can do so by setting up alerts and routinely searching for your business on the web.

Love this article? Share with your network!