Customer Experience News & Trends

How to respond to customer comments – no matter what they say!

Customers have a lot to say – some good, some bad and some ugly. Are you prepared to respond? 

Not only are customers posting what they think of companies, products and service more than ever. Other customers read what they have to say more than ever. As many as 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their decisions to buy, according to research from

Online reviews make a serious difference in repeat and new sales. You need to manage all of them well.

Sure, you’d like to get all bright, positive reviews. But you won’t. So it’s as important to take good care of the bad and ugly reviews as well as – if not better than – the positive reviews.

“While your business cannot control what customers are saying about you on the Internet, you can control the narrative,” says Sarah-Nicole LeFlore, Customer Success Manager at CX Index, on CustomerThink. “How you choose to engage with customers online can turn a negative review into a positive exchange in the eyes of a potential new customer looking up your business and deciding to spend with you or a competitor.”

That’s why LeFlore offers these strategies for managing online reviews.

How to respond to negative reviews

Although you’d like to get more positive reviews, your reactions to negative reviews are often those that stand out the most. A courteous, timely response that’s a better experience than the one that got a negative review often more than makes up for initial mishaps.

LeFlore suggests these steps:

  1. Hold your own. Don’t take the criticism personally, or you might not be able to remain calm as you respond. Despite rudeness, unfairness or outright lying, anyone who responds to negative online reviews needs to stay calm and professional before and during the response.
  2. Say thank you. It’s easy to say thanks when someone compliments you. Not so easy when someone slams you. But it’s 100% necessary. You can thank anyone for the insight you’ll gain. It’s this easy, and it will create the right tone for your exchange: “Thank you for your feedback, Mr. Customer.”
  3. Apologize. Even if you don’t agree with the negative review or complaint, an apology saves face with the customer and anyone who reads the review exchange later. You don’t need to pinpoint some exact moment or incident. Just say, “I’m sorry your experience wasn’t what you hoped for.”
  4. Get busy. Back up your apology with some concrete action. Tell customers how you’ll address the problem so it doesn’t happen again. Compensate them if there was a loss.
  5. Skip the connection. When responding to negative reviews, try NOT to include your business or product name or details to minimize the chances the review turns up in online search results, LeFlore says.

How to respond to positive reviews

It may seem frivolous to respond to positive reviews – after all, good comments speak volumes. But it’s important to let customers know you hear and appreciate them.

  1. Say thank you. Do it without minimizing what you’ve done, too. Write, “Thank you. We’re so glad you’re pleased” or “Thanks. Couldn’t be happier that it works so well for you” or “Thank you. We appreciate the compliments.”
  2. Make it personal. Add the commenter’s name in your response to make it clear you’re a real person – not an automated response. Plus, the personalization might get the commenter to go on in a positive way.
  3. Maximize your SEO. Include the name of your business, a product or important keywords in your responses to move positive reviews up in online searches for your business. Example: “Thank you, @DustinG. We’re so glad here @CyberLot you’re happy with the #PerformanceCord. Let us know if there’s anything else we can help you with.”
  4. Add a call to action. You don’t need to do this all the time, but it’s OK to suggest something else that’s in line with what they like. For instance, “Thanks again. You might want to take a look at our loyalty program to get some extra benefits!”

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