Reply to critical reviews to win respect and credibility, show off your customer service, and demonstrate that you care about your customers.
Negative reviews are no reason to panic - we all know you can’t please everyone all the time! What you can do is use critical feedback in a positive way to learn and improve, and reply to critical reviews to build trust, fix problems and win more business.
Why bad reviews can be a good thing
At Trustpilot, we’re sometimes asked by companies:
- Should I reply to critical reviews? Even if I disagree with what’s written?
- Can I win over unhappy customers and boost my brand with a good response?
- Will the odd negative review make people trust my reviews more?
The answer to these questions is usually: “Yes!”. Businesses are often surprised to learn that bad reviews can have positive effects, such as giving them the chance to respond to feedback and show they care. Companies that strategically reply to reviews - especially critical reviews - can benefit significantly.
Keep a cool head and reply
We recommend responding to negative reviews in a positive and professional way that’s in line with your brand. Our tips for replying to all reviews include keeping responses polite and brief, thanking the reviewer for their feedback, and inviting a more in-depth discussion offline if necessary.
The best replies address the unique situation at hand, so tailor them to be relevant and personal.
Turn negative reviews to your advantage
For businesses, each and every one of your less-than perfect reviews can be an opportunity. We outline a few ways bad reviews can be great for businesses here. These include:
- Helping you win respect and loyalty - and returning customers
- Letting you show empathy, and show off your service by responding in a thoughtful and polite way. This can even boost sales
- Signalling authenticity and credibility (people tend to be suspicious if a company only has 5-star reviews)
- Giving you the chance to solve problems and follow up on complaints - which can impress everyone and convert unhappy customers to returning customers
- Providing learning opportunities: You may get valuable insights to improve your business
Tip: Did you know that businesses can convert up to 70% of unhappy customers to returning customers by resolving their problems?*
Avoid reporting bad reviews
It’s never easy to receive criticism. We understand wanting to make bad reviews disappear. But reporting 1 or 2-star reviews is rarely the best option.
Second, it can add insult to injury if the reviewer feels they’ve had a bad experience and then had their voice silenced by a company reporting or removing their review.
Finally, reporting bad reviews means you lose all the benefits above.
What if they're not true?
Even if you believe a reviewer’s version of events is incorrect, it often pays to briefly and politely respond with your side of the story. You may not be able to win over every unhappy reviewer, but people reading reviews are often savvy enough to see through unreasonable complaints.
Businesses also have to comply with Trustpilot’s Company Guidelines, which require replies to be family friendly. It’s not only a bad idea to be impolite, it’s also prohibited to respond in a threatening, abusive, libelous, offensive or unlawful way - regardless of how unfair the original review seems.
See people's good intentions
Keep in mind that the majority of people who write reviews are genuinely happy about good service, or want to help companies improve. Over 74% of the reviews on Trustpilot are 5-star reviews!**
How do I respond to reviews?
To respond to reviews, log in to your Trustpilot Business Account and select Service Reviews. You can reply to a particular review by clicking on the flag icon marked Reply.
*Forbes.com: Ganguly, R., Negative Reviews are the Holy Grail of Customer Feedback, 2 December 2015. **As at September 2017.