12 Text Message Templates for Responding to Negative Reviews
You want to give every customer a great experience, but eventually you'll run into someone who gives you a negative review despite the quality of your work or how many other people love your business.
Negative reviews can hurt your reputation, so you need to be prepared to respond to them in a way that is open-minded and respectful. Otherwise you can escalate the situation, or repeat a mistake that truly needs to be fixed.
Texts can be a great way to do this because you can privately discuss and settle any qualms the customer had (and maybe even inspire them to redact their original negative review).
You just need to be prepared to approach the conversation in a calm and professional way, which is why we put together 12 text message templates you can use to respond to negative reviews.
Why should you respond to online reviews?
A lot of these responses are not intended to directly turn negative reviews into positive reviews, but instead to make sure customers' last impression and experience with you is a good one.
By texting them, you can demonstrate that you’re ready to personally address a customer’s problem.
It’s the ultimate customer service, because 99% of texts are read and 89% of people would rather text than email or call a business. You know your message will be seen, and you know the customer will most likely respond because it’s the most convenient channel of communication for them.
You can also publicly demonstrate to other consumers that your customer service team is on top of it, by responding to negative online reviews with something, like:
“Hi [Name], I'm sorry to hear you weren't happy with our [product/service]. I'd probably be upset, too. Will you text us at number so I can clarify a couple details and take it back to our team to fix? Thank you! - [Rep Name]”
45% of consumers are more likely to work with a business that responds to negative reviews with a comment like this, and 70% of customers who complain will give you a second chance if their issue is resolved.
There’s no need to be scared of a negative review, if you use them as a way to correct blinspots and show off your dedication to satisfying customers.
4 Kinds of Text Responses to Negative Reviews
1. Welcome constructive criticism.
Negative reviews give you a great opportunity to identify any kinks you’ve missed in your system. You just need a way to identify which ones actually offer constructive criticism you can take seriously.
Constructive feedback in reviews will usually come in the form of gentle suggestions, a calm tone, and thoughtfulness instead of outright anger. Not all feedback is created equal though, so you’ll always need to consider if their points are valid and fit with your current goals.
Once you identify a reviewer that is going to give you feedback you can use, you can text them something like:
Template 1: “Hi [Name], thank you for your feedback. We’re sorry you weren’t satisfied with [product/service]. What tweaks would you recommend to ensure others have a better experience?”
Template 2: “[Name], thanks for your review. We apologize that none of our options suited your needs. What add ons or adjustments would work best for you?
Template 3: “Hey [Name], we want you and others to enjoy working with us. What can our team do better next time? Thanks in advance for your feedback.”
Always thank a reviewer with constructive feedback for their review. It will empower them to give you a second chance.
2. Gently correct misinformation or confusion.
Sometimes you’ve done nothing wrong, and the reviewer is just unreasonably upset.
This can happen if they didn’t do their research to fully understand what your business does, or they expect a certain product or feature you don’t offer. It's also possible something on your website is confusing or unintentionally misleading—but in some cases, you may have all the correct information you need there, but they just didn’t check or ask!
In these cases it’s best to gently nudge them toward a different option, or address the feature they overlooked, by sending a text, like:
Template 4: “Hi [Name], we actually do offer the feature you suggested in your review. Would you like me to show you how to access it?”
Template 5: “[Name], the service you mentioned in your review is not one we currently offer, but I can do my best to show you other options or solutions. Want to chat through it?”
Template 6: “Hi [Name], we are actually a [Industry] business, and do not offer the same service you mention in your comment. We'd love to help you with lead generation and earning online reviews!”
Never give a direct “no” or make any false promises to reviewers. Instead, just direct them to the next best option that you know you can provide.
3. Compensate bad customer experiences.
It’s always a good idea to compensate a dissatisfied reviewer, as long as they have reasonably called you out on something that you know went wrong on your end.
Stay calm, directly apologize, and offer something that’s feasible for your business to provide.
Template 7: “[Name], we apologize for your long wait yesterday. Can we offer you a 20% discount on your next purchase? Let me know and I'll send you the discount code!”
Template 8: “[Hi Name], our team apologizes for the issues on our last shipment. Your satisfaction is important to us, and so your next order will come with free shipping.”
Template 9: “[Name], we’re sorry our service went down last night. Any charges for that time will be waived.”
Always follow up on compensations you offer in a timely manner, and you’ll avoid any further damage to your reputation.
4. Give yourself opportunities for a second chance.
After you’ve made adjustments based on the feedback you’ve gotten from reviewers, you can notify them with a text like:
Template 10: “Hey [Name], we’ve added new [features/products] that we think will better suit your needs. Thanks for motivating us to add them! Check them out at: [link]”
Template 11: “Hi [Name], our customer support is now 24 hours for your convenience. Try out our response time here: [link]”
Template 12: “Hey [Name], we’ve added a new checkout system to make your shopping experience smoother. Check it out: [link]”
You should only send texts like these when you have fully made changes and know they work.
It also takes time to make adjustments like in the examples above, so don’t wait to respond to the customers’ initial reviews.
A word on fake negative reviews.
40% of online reviews are fake. While fake reviews can sometimes be positive ones that come from friends, family, and employees who are trying to hype up your business—they can also be negative ones that come from robots, trolls, or previously scorned employees who want to hurt your reputation.
You should not entertain fake negative reviews with a text, but rather call them out publicly and flag them for take down.
But before that, you need to:
1. Make sure you draft a response that is calm and tactful.
2. Be completely certain the negative review is fake.
Otherwise you’ll attract bad attention from the real customers who are going through your reviews.
While you do not have to respond to fake reviews, doing so can be a way to subtly point out that you know they’re fake while also showing other consumers you’re engaged with what’s going on in your reviews.
You can identify a fake negative review by its typos, numerous exclamation points, use of all caps, or strange usernames and inconsistencies.
The best way to respond to these reviews is to publicly acknowledge their inconsistencies, like:
“I’m sorry for your bad experience, but we’re an [industry] business, so I think you have the wrong company.”
“We don’t have a representative named [Name] at this location. Were you at a different store?”
“We take customer feedback seriously, but we also have no record of someone by your username as a customer. Can you verify your Google Account so we can dig in and fix this for you?”
Your other customers will be able to recognize that something is off when you identify these red flags in a fake negative review.
Continuously respond to and grow your online reviews.
Don’t stop at just responding to negative reviews. You also need to respond to positive ones as well. Businesses that engage with online reviews have seen a 67% increase in conversions.
Need more online reviews to actually respond to?
Check out our Online Reviews Playbook to get the ultimate guide on gathering and managing reviews to boost your business's leads.