No one likes a negative review. However, even with the best of intentions and efforts, you may still receive a negative review for your business.
Many travelers rely on sites like Tripadvisor, Expedia or Yelp in order to decide which hotel to use on their next vacation. And unfortunately, negative reviews are more noticeable than positive ones. When I’m searching for accommodations online, I don’t necessarily read the entire review if positive, but I absolutely read every word of a negative review. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that it is absolutely possible to mitigate the impact of a negative review, and even turn them into a positive for your business.
1. Answer all negative reviews quickly
A good way to counter a negative review is to answer directly, as quickly as possible. It is so important to respond to these negative reviews within a few business days at the most. Not only will this help de-escalate the unhappy guest, but it will also communicate to review readers that you are quick to attend to all customer service issues.
2. Apologize and compensate
The negative reviewer is frustrated, and whatever the claim might be, you want to apologize for their bad experience. Your response should indicate that you understand their frustration, that it is not how you want your guests to feel, and that you are deeply sorry. If possible, offer some type of compensation or incentive for giving you another chance to meet their expectations.
3. Do not be aggressive
Even if you are sure that it was a misunderstanding or a problem on the customer side, you cannot respond in an aggressive way. Chances are you will simply start an online war of words. Not only will it not solve the problem, but other potential customers may see you (and your business) as incapable of treating customers well. Sometimes this requires swallowing your pride, but lin the end, responding aggressively will be a war you cannot win.
4. Do not question the complaint
Questioning the reviewer and the legitimacy of their complaint can just escalate the situation further. As stated in number 3, sometimes responding to a negative review may involve swallowing your pride. The complaint may be false, but it may also lead you to discover a weak point in your business. Make sure to investigate and address the complaint whole heartedly. If you are able to discover a flaw, make sure to communicate on the public forum that you are taking actions to fix it.
5. Be thankful for the feedback
Express your gratitude towards your guest and their review. This conveys to possible readers and guests that you are open to all reviews because you want to be the best you can. If they mention any positive aspects within their complaint, you can reinforce them in your response.