Customers provide product feedback and insight. In return, they want responses that demonstrate you are listening and acting on input. By responding to negative reviews, you can increase consumer satisfaction and confidence, manage expectations, and provide information about future product improvements to future site visitors.

Negative reviews fall into these general categories:

  • Reviews that cite a specific product or service issue that can be addressed. These reviews are sometimes referred to as “actionable negative reviews.”
  • Reviews that include an abstract grievance that is difficult to address. These reviews are often labeled “non-actionable.”

A response does not always have to address a negative review. Bazaarvoice recommends responding as follows:

  • A public response to approved negative reviews that remain on the site that discuss consumer success stories, suggest products that complement the reviewed product, or provide answers to questions in a review to encourage additional purchases.
  • A direct response to rejected reviews that are actionable.

A keyword search narrows your focus to negative reviews specific to a product category or individual product. Search using words indicating conflicted feelings, such as “I wish,” “broken,” or “difficult.”

Choose a response interval that takes into account the volume of reviews and the availability of staff to respond. A routine interval may be daily or weekly. When considering reviews for reply, be sure not to repeatedly respond to the same complaint. Instead, consider featuring reviews which address the complaint at the top level of your product reviews. Additionally, keep alert to reviews that point to potential liability issues. These reviews should be flagged for further consideration by your company’s legal department.

Filter reviews for response

Follow these steps to find reviews in need of a response:

  1. From the top menu of your Bazaarvoice Workbench, hover over Content and then select Ratings & Reviews.
  2. From the Ratings & Reviews page, you can filter ratings a number of different ways:
    • You can choose predefined views from the View drop-down list at the top of the page. You can also save and delete custom views once you define search parameters by clicking Save View or Delete View.
    • Filter by date by selecting the calendar icon next to All Dates. You can use the drop-down list to choose a predefined range, such as the last 30 days. If you want to select a range of specific dates, click the empty date fields. A calendar opens from which you can choose the dates you want. Choose if you want to view when the date content was Created or Last Moderated.
    • Search on keywords in the Search field, indicated by the magnifying glass icon. Try terms like “broken” or “difficult” to find negative reviews for which a response would be useful. To clear a keyword search, delete the search terms from the Search field, then click the magnifying glass icon.
    • Filter by Product, People, Content, or Moderation by hovering over the plus sign next to each field. A list displays from which you can select options to further narrow your search. Selected list items open option windows where you define, for instance, the Category ID to use in the search. After you select a search item, it displays in a list below the Product, People, Content, and Moderation fields. To remove the filter, click the X next to the search term. To remove all filters, click Clear All.
    • After using the filtering techniques previously described, click Highlights. A new window opens that displays word clouds for both positive and negative reviews, as well as listing highlights and lowlights from the filtered reviews. Clicking any of the listed words in the cloud takes you to a list of reviews using that word. You can also choose to page through the highlight and lowlight reviews using the arrows above each list. Clicking any of the filtered reviews takes you to the full review.

After you find a review in need of a response, decide whether your response best serves your customers as a public or private reply.

  • Public—A public response is most appropriate when addressing a community concern, such as changes in your product or customer service policies. A public response also best suits an approved negative review that will stay on your site.
  • Private—A private response addresses individual concerns, such as unique product or customer service problems. A private response is appropriate for both approved and unapproved reviews.

Compose review responses

The best public response to a negative review demonstrates empathy for the customer. When possible, it explains how to remedy the situation. Avoid canned responses. They come across as impersonal. Instead, be authentic and transparent. Let users know how your company plans to resolve systemic problems or design issues.

Bazaarvoice’s clients often use the following guidelines when crafting public responses:

  • Empathize with a consumer’s frustration to demonstrate to future visitors that you are listening to their comments.
  • Provide a short-term solution, such as:
    • Recommending a product better suited for their use case
    • Providing a customer care number, as well as suggesting appropriate next steps for future visitors with a similar issue
    • Sharing any upcoming changes to this product
  • In the event the problem cannot be resolved, apologize to the customer. Offer a coupon or refund as a gesture of sincerity.

After using filters in the Bazaarvoice Workbench to find a review that needs a response, decide whether a public or private reply is more appropriate. Then, complete the following instructions based on your decision.

Public responses

Follow these steps to respond publicly. Responses display in line with the original review.

  1. Look for a green check mark next to the review. A green check mark indicates an approved review, so your response will be displayed publicly. Reviews with a red X are unapproved, so neither the review nor the response will be visible on your company’s public website.
  2. Hover over the desired review. A series of options displays beneath the review. Click Respond. A more detailed version of the review displays, along with any previous client responses.
  3. Click Add Response. A new series of fields displays, most notably Client Response, Response By, and Department. Fill in the fields with the appropriate information.
  4. Click Save. Your response will go live within an hour.

Private responses

Private responses require access to the customer’s email address. You can collect users’ email addresses in one of two ways depending on your setup.

  • Submission forms—The user enters an email address on the review submission form.
  • Site authentication—The user must possess a unique login to access the site.

If the user entered an email address on the review submission form, you can access the address by hovering over the review that needs a response and clicking Show Details. If you use site authentication, a unique Reviewer ID is associated with each user account. Locate the user in your customer database using the Reviewer ID. You can also access a customer’s email address from the database entry.

In either case, copy and paste the email address into your email client. For security and privacy reasons, use an email alias, such as, in the Reply-To field of your email.