How to Handle a Bad Review

Close up of vintage typewriter machine

It is commonly said by people that they would love to receive some genuine feedback from customers. That said it still hurts to receive a bad review about your business or product. Although it can be an emotional hit, bad reviews should be handled with care; they should never be responded to rashly or emotionally. Chances are the bad review is about a particular experience, not you as a person.

A common mistake is to delete bad reviews. As a consumer it isn’t too hard to recognize the times that this happens, and it turns people off the product or business. Why? Deleting negative comments shows a lack of integrity—an important factor people consider when shopping for services. Your actions should always demonstrate the best qualities of your company. However, there are times when it is okay to delete comments. If a comment is racist, particularly offensive, or just plain vulgar; then it would be okay to remove the comment so other people do not have to read it.

Look at any negative reviews as opportunities to showcase your company’s excellent customer service, and dedication to quality. Negative reviews can be good PR if you handle them tactfully.  These complaints can also serve as a guide for things your company can improve on, because hey, nobody’s perfect.

When responding to a review, the best thing to do is to engage the customer. It is important that your tone is not defensive or confrontational; rather it should be one of concern. Be nice, be courteous, and genuinely try to help them. Know that it is incredibly hard to win an argument with a berated customer. Do not try; it will most likely reflect poorly on you and your company. Take the higher ground. Try to understand what went wrong and make every effort you can to put the situation right. Even if a customer has a bad experience with your company, there is a chance they will return to give you business; try and help them out. Responding to reviews this way will show other customers that you have the ability to handle complaints professionally, and aim to provide excellent customer service.

Keep it short. Do not write more than a paragraph. Never write a huge essay; it is off-putting to see such a lengthy response. Make it genuine and specific, not automated. If there is new and relevant information to share, then share it. Let the customers know the ways in which you have improved, or plan on improving because of their feedback. Last thing, don’t be a salesperson. People who leave bad reviews were already customers and don’t want to be sold on anything. Now is the time to focus on your customer service skills.

If you do all these things, you will show to the world that you are level headed, have integrity, and want to give excellent customer service. People who read the review will see that any dissatisfaction was unintentional, and likely a misunderstanding. As a consequence they will be more likely to choose your company over another that has received poor reviews and did not respond to them, or didn’t respond to them well. Good luck!

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