Smart Ways for Ecommerce Businesses to Respond to Rude Online Reviews

Customer reviews can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can serve as a powerful marketing tool, demonstrating the high quality of your products and customer service to onlookers. However, how do you handle negative reviews? 

We’re not just talking about the occasional complaint. What happens when someone leaves a blatant, caps-lock, downright rude review? This is a tricky issue. You could ignore it yourself, but it’s still there, right on your Google Reviews page for everyone to see. You might be tempted to correct the person, but is that the right thing to do?

If you’re wondering how to handle this situation, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we break down the smart way to respond to rude online reviews. Read on for tips, tricks, and a helpful template for your responses!

Why Responding to Reviews is Important

First of all, if you’re on the fence about acknowledging the review, there’s a simple answer. Always respond. Responding to reviews can help you to improve your online reputation. By addressing customer concerns and complaints, you can show that you care about their experience and are willing to take steps to make things right.

Responding to reviews can have an impact on your SEO and discoverability as well. Engaging with all your reviews, even negative ones, allows you to make your case and increases the likelihood of people visiting your website to learn more, thereby increasing your SEO metrics and helping your site to rank higher.  

What Is a Rude Review?

Good reviews can be motivating and inspiring to see on your Google Business Profile. Bad reviews can be troubling. Rude reviews are another thing altogether. 

To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, we’ve included three examples of downright rude reviews based on real-life interactions between customers and businesses: 

The above reviews are based on real reviews from real Google Business Profiles, with certain details and specifics changed to protect anonymity. Now, before you respond to extreme cases like these, it’s important to take your time and think. 

Pause Before You Act

Reading the heated, unjustified comments of an irate customer can be provoking. However, it’s critical not to respond too quickly before you have all the facts. Perhaps there is some truth to their side, even if it was communicated impolitely

The first thing to consider is whether or not the review is legitimate. Unfortunately, people can leave fake negative reviews for all sorts of reasons. These include:

  1. Competition: Some competitors will leave fake negative reviews to try to harm your reputation.
  2. Disgruntled Former Employees: Upset employees may try to leave fake negative reviews as a form of retaliation.
  3. Mischief: Some people leave fake bad reviews as a prank to cause mischief.
  4. Testing the System: Individuals will sometimes try testing the review system to see if their review gets published, even if it’s negative.

The next step is to check if the customer made a mistake with their review. Sometimes, a customer leaves a review on the wrong business because of a similarity in their names or just a simple misunderstanding. In either of these cases, before responding to the review, you should flag it and gather evidence to demonstrate its lack of legitimacy. Google will then remove the review if they determine it is not reliable. If they do not, you can then contact Google customer support

How to Write a Response to a Rude Customer Review

When responding to a negative review, it’s essential to remain calm and professional. Start by thanking the reviewer for their feedback and expressing your sincere apologies for the negative experience they had. Use language that is polite, empathetic, and solution-oriented. Avoid using defensive or confrontational language, and never attack or belittle the reviewer. 

When choosing your tone, aim for a friendly and helpful approach. Be sure to use phrases such as:

  • “I understand how you feel.” 
  • “We appreciate your feedback.”
  • “We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.” 

Humor can be tricky, so it’s best to avoid it in response to negative reviews. 

To resolve the issue amicably, offer a reasonable and fair solution. Whether it’s asking the reviewer to email the business or moving the conversation offline, make sure the solution is simple and easy for the reviewer to follow. 

If the negative review is legitimate, consider offering a discount, a free service, or other remedy within the body of the response. However, if the issue is complex or sensitive, it may be better to talk about those things offline. 

Here’s a suggested response template:

Dear [Reviewer’s Name],

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We understand how frustrating it can be to encounter issues, and we apologize for any inconvenience caused. We would like to offer you [insert remedy here] to make up for the inconvenience. Please feel free to [insert action here to resolve the issue amicably].

Thank you for your understanding, and we hope to have the opportunity to serve you again in the future.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Real Examples of Excellent Responses to Rude Reviews

Here are some good examples of possible responses to negative reviews. These follow the same general tone and style of the suggested response template but are customized to suit different situations. 

Example 1: Taking Responsibility

This one is great because it takes responsibility and commits to real action instead of just sentiment. It also moves the conversation offline, enabling the business to handle the situation out of the public eye. 

Example 2: The Value of All Feedback 

“We’re sorry to hear about your experience with our customer service. Providing excellent customer service is our top priority, and we’re disappointed to hear that we fell short of your expectations. Your feedback is important to us, and we will use it to improve our customer service practices. Please accept our apologies, and we hope to have the opportunity to serve you better in the future.”

Again, this response starts with an apology to take responsibility and acknowledge the reviewer’s poor experience. The response emphasizes their goals of providing great customer service, and it ends with a commitment to be better in the future. Perfect. If there’s no way to recompense the reviewer for what happened, this is an excellent way of responding. 

Example 3: Making Things Right

“We’re sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the quality of our product. We take pride in the quality of our products and strive to meet the expectations of our customers. Your feedback is valuable to us, and we will address this issue with our team to ensure it does not happen again. Please contact us at [contact information] so we can make things right for you.”

This third response maintains a professional tone and emphasizes their true goals. It positions the customer’s unfortunate experience as a rarity inconsistent with the level of service and quality they usually provide. It makes an apology and then offers to continue the conversation offline so that the business can resolve the situation further.  

Other Platforms Beyond Google Reviews

In this article, we have mostly focused on Google Business reviews. However, there are several other review platforms besides Google, such as Yelp, Yahoo, and Bing. These platforms have their own unique features and user base. Yelp, for example, is known for its focus on reviews of local businesses and restaurants. Yahoo has a wider audience and includes reviews of various products and services, and Bing is primarily used for local searches. 

While the core principles of responding to reviews remain the same, each platform may require its own specific strategy based on its user base and features. Be sure to do your research before responding. 

How to Get More Reviews to Drive Customer Engagement for Your Business

In this article, we have explored the best way to respond to negative reviews. Feel free to use our suggested review template to respond to any rude reviews you may get. Also, remember to pause and do your research before responding. 

Of course, if you are not receiving any reviews, you won’t have any rude comments to handle in the first place. 

To increase review volume and optimize your customer engagement, consider using Bizrate Insights.