Managing Negative Customer Reviews: How to Take Constructive Criticism

By Buy Box Experts on February 6, 2019

Every seller gets a negative review at some point. It can be extremely frustrating to read comments that tear your product and maybe even your business to shreds. Not only do bad reviews take an emotional toll, but they can also affect your conversion rate and Amazon BSR.

But negative reviews don’t mean the end of your business. They are an opportunity to grow and to foster relationships with customers. When faced with a negative review, here are some tips on how to take constructive criticism and respond respectfully.

Follow Amazon’s Example

Amazon is known for having exceptional customer service. Customers can call a service line and talk with a real representative within minutes. They can easily manage their orders, make returns, and get refunds. At every touchpoint, Amazon caters to their customers to ensure they have the best possible experience.

Sellers should take a note from Amazon and be as easy to work with as possible. That requires sellers to respond to reviews quickly, respectfully, and with a proposed solution.

Respond ASAP

ALWAYS respond to negative reviews. Do not let them just sit idly. Sellers should respond to every negative review as soon as possible. If you don’t respond, then you send the message to other potential customers that you don’t care about customer service and satisfaction. Conversely, by responding to negative reviews, you show that you do care about each customer’s experience.

However, it might be best to take a few minutes to breathe and carefully craft what you want to say. After reading a negative review, you might be heated, which can affect the sincerity of your response.

Start with an Apology

Every response to a negative review should start with an apology. Sellers should address the issue brought up in the review to validate what the customer experienced. By doing this, you show empathy for the customer, which can go a long way towards regaining their trust.

This apology can help you get into the customer’s mindset. Have you ever bought a product that didn’t meet your expectations? That didn’t work correctly? That broke the first time you used it? Channel the feelings you have had to put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

Avoid the Blame Game

Your response shouldn’t be about proving the customer wrong; it should be about damage control and mitigating the potential impact of a negative review. Do not be vindictive because your response is ultimately a response to all potential customers. If buyers see how you responded to one negative review, they will assume that you will treat them the same way and decide to go with another company.

Some companies purposefully respond with sarcastic comments, which occasionally go viral. We recommend avoiding this strategy because it can go very wrong and make your company look even worse.

Get Them Off the Platform

Once you have thoroughly apologized and acknowledged the problem, it’s best to get the customer off of Amazon. Offer a phone number to call or an email for them to discuss the issue further. When doing so, avoid generic support email addresses and give specifics about who to contact.

For example, “We would love to discuss this further with you. If you are willing, please call Jim, our General Sales Manager, at 555-555-5555.”

By getting customers off of Amazon, you can handle the issue privately so that any further negative comments aren’t aired on Amazon. Plus, potential buyers will read your response and assume that the customer called or emailed and that the problem got solved.

Make Changes If Needed

Negative feedback can be great constructive criticism that can help you rethink your product. Maybe there is a design flaw. Maybe you do need higher quality materials. Use negative feedback as an opportunity to evaluate your product’s design, quality, and efficiency. If you need to make changes, do it. Your future customers will thank you for it!

Adhere to Amazon Guidelines

Of course, Amazon has guidelines for what sellers can post in their official review responses. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t offer compensation for removing or editing the review
  • Don’t violate Amazon’s guidelines by pressuring the customer
  • Always be friendly

Removing Negative Reviews

Amazon does offer an option for sellers to try and get reviews removed. But don’t hold your breath; most of the time, the reviews are there to stay. However, if you manage a negative review the right way, your customer may remove the review themselves or update the review so that it’s more favorable.

In the end, however, reviews will probably stay the way they are, and that’s okay! By implementing the tips we have provided, you can provide superior customer service that will help build brand trust despite negative comments.

For more advice on how to respond to negative reviews, reach out to our experts!


About the Author: Alyssa Ball has been working in digital marketing for several years. She graduated from Brigham Young University with her degree in English linguistics and is currently pursuing an MBA. Alyssa’s position as a content writer and keyword strategist at Nozani has allowed her to master both Google and Amazon SEO.

Buy Box Experts
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