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We’ve all come across it, a negative review. It’s almost like a scarlet letter. You know it’s around but you really don’t want to address it. That’s probably the worse thing you could do, so the question remains -- how do you respond to a negative review?


  1. Find out their story
    • Take the time to get to the bottom of the customer’s complaint or issue

  2. Reply Promptly under the original review
    • By doing this, you can also help minimize damage from other potential customers being swayed by the reviewer’s experience. Future customers will see that you care about your customers and actively work to improve your business.

  3. Be sincere and not defensive
    • Sometimes, “I’m sorry,” can go a long way, as well as thanking the customer for sharing and taking the time to share their concerns.

  4. Have the Owner or Manager reply to the review
    • Identify yourself and your position, include specifics of their complaints and any ways you’re going to fix the issue. Also give a good email address and/or phone number that customer can reach you directly.

  5. What if the customer’s review is inaccurate?
    • Carefully and factually respond to the customer with your dealership’s side of the story. However, don’t be defensive. You could only make the situation worse by defending your dealership’s actions too strongly.

  6. What do I do with this information after everything is said and done?
    • Determine if this issue is brought up often or if it is just a one time occurrence (which means you must be tracking customer complaints/issues).  If your business consistently receives feedback that your front desk staff is unfriendly, then you should take prompt action to fix the situation. However, if 99 percent of your reviews comment on your friendly staff and one customer who had a negative experience complains about it, then it may be an isolated issue.



Dealer Take Away
By noticing patterns and addressing the concerns to improve your guest’s experience, you will be on the right path to bringing new customers to your door and having previous customers return.

Views: 69

Tags: How, Negative, Respond, Reviews, to

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Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 15, 2013 at 7:00pm

I have responded to many more dealership negative reviews on behalf of dealers than I care to even try to count... With that said, a few experiences have surprised me along the way. When responding to very old negative reviews that had previously been ignored for over a year, I was shocked by how many customers actually called as a result of our response.  Perhaps most surprising has been the willingness of so many customers to change a "1" to a "3" or more simply as a result of the public apology and a phone call.  

Perhaps the greatest surprise has been the deals we have made as a result of contacting a "heat case" that showed up as an online derogatory review or flame... A Nissan dealer who was lambasted by a tweet delivered a new Cube to that very same customer 4 days after responding on Twitter and calling the customer.

Just like the heat cases that walk into dealer showrooms on occasion, most online heat cases (negative reviews) are a great opportunity to do more business and earn a customer for life.

Comment by Ketty Colom on January 15, 2013 at 10:50am

Also, if their bad review is on Twitter how can they respond back with a lengthy response? 

Comment by Christine Rochelle on January 15, 2013 at 9:03am

Great action items. I have seen many dealers respond with their side of the story and then the review sticks to Page One because of their lengthy response and amount of keywords they end up using unknowingly, etc. So I definitely agree with providing an email and phone number of a manager and taking it offline. And, like you said, take time to remedy the issue and see what happened instead of trying to just make it go away.

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