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How To Handle A Bad Review

Reviews can be very helpful to your business. You can – and should – get reviews on each online platform where your business can be found. Most platforms will not allow you to copy and paste reviews from other platforms, so it’s best to ask for a review on a specific platform. Getting reviews is surprisingly easy when you provide a direct link when you ask a person to give you a review. Good reviews are great, but bad reviews can be even better if you handle them well.

Here are a few best practices, and some it’s best to avoid when asking for reviews:

  • Don’t ask friends, family members or those who have never used your products or services to write reviews. It will show.
  • Identify your promoters and ask these customers first.
  • Ask for honest reviews.
  • If you are not sure the customer will provide a good review, have a discussion with them first so you can address any deficits.
  • Personalize any email you use to ask for a review, keep it short, and make it easy to leave the review.

Inevitably, you will get a bad review. When you do, it’s important to know that platforms like Google or Yelp will only allow you to have the review removed (by them) under certain circumstances, which is a fact that’s best to remember when you are dealing with any dissatisfied customer – whether or not they are giving you a review. The top reason Google or Yelp will remove a review is that the person was never a customer. You will be asked to prove your reason for asking any review to be removed, and the platform may deny your request.

If you get a bad review, the first thing to remember is that flaming the customer always looks worse for you then it does for them. In other words, when you are tempted to fire off a sarcastic or scathing response, you should remember just one word: Don’t.

In responding, start by thanking the customer for the review. Then be human. Tell them you regret that they had a bad experience, and that you wish they had brought the situation to your attention right away because you would have liked to have had the chance to fix it. Invite them to contact you to discuss the matter. Please don’t use the phrase “the customer is always right” because that will make your response sound disingenuous and that you’re not serious about resolving customer issues.

Here’s a process you can use to respond to the negative reviews – no matter when or where they happen:

  1. Address the reviewer by name.
  2. Thank them for their review.
  3. Apologize and sympathize, but do it in brief fashion.
  4. Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility.
  5. Offer to make things right.
  6. Take the issue offline and speak directly with the customer.
  7. If you do resolve the issue to the customer’s satisfaction, ask if they will amend or append their review.
  8. Thank the customer again.