How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews (The Right Way)

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How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews (The Right Way)

You probably already know how important online reviews are. 93% of consumers consult local reviews to make a purchasing decision, which means that you need to take negative online reviews seriously. 

How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews (The Right Way)

You may have read the recent news regarding a mortgage broker who posted borrower data on Yelp in response to negative reviews. The Federal Trade Commission got involved, and fined the loan officer for revealing borrowers’ information online. 

In his responses to negative reviews on Yelp, he allegedly posted sensitive data such as credit history, family details, debt-to-income ratios, and even health information. Needless to say, this is not the way that successful loan officers should respond to negative online reviews. 

Unfortunately, negative reviews do happen. You may do your best to provide an excellent customer service experience, however, you can’t make everyone happy 100% of the time. So, how do you respond when you receive a bad online review? 

Step 1: Take A Breath

It’s important to remember that a negative mortgage review isn’t the end of the world. Yes, it can sting, especially if you’ve worked hard to establish trust with a borrower. However, you should remember that this is not a reflection on your quality as a loan officer. 

If getting a bad review makes your blood boil, you may want to wait a day or two before deciding how to respond. 

Step 2: Decide If You Should Respond

Some reviews are downright awful, and some are just bad. If a bad review is factual with minor complaints included, you may choose to just ignore it. You can’t make every customer 100% happy, no matter how hard you try. 

Or, if the reviewer is saying things that are complete lies, there’s really not much to be done. After all, they clearly aren’t interested in having an honest, constructive conversation. 

However, if what they’ve written is either partially true or you’re at fault, you may choose to reply. Or, if what they have to say absolutely happened and you were in the wrong, break out your pen: it’s time to respond! 

Step 3: Do Your Research

No matter what type of negative mortgage review you’ve received, it’s important that you know all the facts before you respond. Especially if the reviewer makes claims about your actions, you should ensure that you know exactly what went down. 

Just remember, this is not an opportunity for a she said/he said situation. Instead, understand what occurred, and try to put yourself into the customer’s shoes. Was there a miscommunication or a genuine accident? It’s important to not get defensive of your actions–after all, the past is the past, and you can’t change that now. 

Step 4: Reach Out Directly

If you decide that you should respond to the negative review you received, your first step should be to reach out directly. After all, by interacting with the reviewer one-on-one, you have a greater chance of resolving the situation amicably. 

When you reach out, prioritize a polite and informative interaction. Here’s an example of what you could choose to say: 

“Dear (Name of Reviewer), 

Thank you for your recent review of (Business Name). I’m deeply sorry to hear that you had anything less than an amazing experience with us. I wanted to reach out to offer my apologies. It is always our goal to serve our customers well. I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to remedy the (specific issue mentioned in the review)? 

I am here to help, and I would be happy to answer any questions or concerns that you might have. Feel free to give me a call anytime at (Phone Number), or reply to this email directly. 

Again, we value your business and are deeply sorry that you were disappointed in any way. 

Best, 

(Your Name)”

In certain circumstances, the reviewer may even be willing to take down their negative review. 

Step 5: Post a Public Reply

After you’ve reached out directly, it might be a good idea to post a public reply as well. It’s important not to argue with your reviewer in this public facing comment. Instead, acknowledge their concern or complaint, apologize, and offer a way to make it right. 

For example, here’s how you could respond publicly to negative online reviews: 

“Dear (Name of Reviewer), 

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. I’m sorry to hear that you had anything less than a 5-star experience with (Business Name). Please contact me at (Email Address). I would love to chat, and learn how we can make our processes better for all of our customers.”

Step 6: Ask Past Customers for Reviews

Even if the unhappy customer does not choose to remove their review, there are other ways to improve your online presence. By asking other past customers for reviews, you can earn more positive reviews. 

You cannot pay for positive reviews, and you have to be careful to ensure that the reviews are honest and genuine. 

Here’s a way that you can add requesting reviews into your loan process. When you send a loan process update telling your borrower that their loan has closed, ask for a review! 

“Hi (Borrower Name)! Congratulations! Your loan just closed. It’s been my pleasure to serve you, and I hope that you have enjoyed your experience with (Company Name). If you had a 5-star experience, I’d be honored if you left a review for us on (Review Website Name). If your experience was anything less than stellar, please let us know, and we will do everything we can to make it better. 

Once again, thank you so much for your business!”

Bottom Line

Negative online reviews can make or break a business’ reputation, especially for smaller mortgage shops. But you have the chance to respond quickly and thoughtfully.  You have a much better change of resolving the situation in a way that’s constructive for both sides. After all, when most people post an unhappy review, they’re just wanting acknowledgement. If you can apologize, or even fix the problem, they may take down their review or post an update. 

Just remember, negative online reviews do not spell the end of your successful business. Instead, use it as a learning tool to improve your processes down the road. 

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