Online Reviews

How Do You Respond to Bad Reviews?

Positive and negative reviews

Receiving a negative online review for your small business can be absolutely heartbreaking and, in many cases, feel like the end of the world. Properly handling bad reviews is key to running a successful online business. How Do You Respond to Bad Reviews? Here is a five-step approach to handling any negative online reviews.

Don’t Take Bad Reviews Personal.

A one-star review of your business is not personal. It is one of many reviews of your business. The comment and rating are not personal attacks on your family. When you detect a bad online review, take a deep breath and walk away if you become upset. You want a clear head and a more rational mindset before responding. It is essential to add a response. 

When I respond to bad reviews, I usually start by apologizing and offer to rectify the problem. If the issue was rectified already, I would add that information to the comment. The main thing to remember is to keep it professional and move on. 

Is It A Legitimate Complaint?

Self-evaluation is critical for business owners. Try to use negative reviews as a positive way to discover and resolve issues within your company. Is the reviewer right? If so, post acknowledgment and thank the person for the comment adding the problem will be (or has been) resolved. If the complaint seems to be nonsensical, then you can respond by asking the complainer to contact you in a private conversation with further details.

In some cases, I have even asked the consumer through private messaging to remove the post since negative reviews may be very hurtful to a small business. Sadly, this does not usually work. If the review is incorrect or harassment, you can complain to the reviewing platform asking for removal. That method has only been successful for me one time. 

Ignore Escalating Bad Reviews At All Costs

Try not to engage in arguments or public transactions of anger. We’re back to the #1 rule. Your original acknowledgment and promise to solve the problem are enough for most prospects reading about your company. If a customer is persisting in posting poor information into the public conversation, stop responding and let it go. Do your best to resolve the issue quickly, then move on with your life. Negative reviews are a reality once you gain more and more reviews. 

Be Sincere With Your Apology

This is a big rule for me. Always offer a sincere apology for any poor experience even if your company did everything right. Avoid template apologies at all costs. Insincerity intensifies the situation and could drag angry readers into the discussion. Keep your apology quick and personal. Your acceptance of the customer’s difficulty and willingness to resolve the problem will go a long way with future prospects. 

I cannot tell you how many issues that seemed big were resolved by sincere apologies and working to resolve the issue. A quick phone call or descriptive email will go a long way with flipping a customer’s negative perspective of your company. Some customers will stick with you forever if you take their one-star rating seriously.

Learn From The Experience

If you are receiving many bad online reviews about the same subject, then you must pick up on that pattern and address it. Your business will continue to convert happy customers if you pay attention to online reviews. Online reviews will boost your online business, even if there are bad ones you would like to get rid of. As long as you address poor online reviews well, your company should be able to continue creating satisfied customers.

Years ago, we would receive complaints about our CD Booklets falling apart. It did not always occur, but enough to keep it an ongoing issue. We resolved this by ousting the products from our custom booklet lineup. Despite generating thousands of dollars per month, the poor customer experience was not worth the risk. In most cases, you would want to try and resolve the issue. Unfortunately, we could not make good enough adjustments, so we just accepted a temporary hit to sales.

How can you improve your reviews?

Ask your happiest customers to leave a review if they have time. Make it a priority. We spend an hour a month emailing our happiest customers to review us on Google or Facebook. I feel like this is so important since upset customers are quick to leave bad reviews. Your best customers are usually willing to help your business succeed.

How Do You Respond to Bad Reviews? We would love to know. Email us your experience and tips, and we will post it in this article.