All businesses, whether they are brick and mortar shops, online stores or service providers experience a bad review given by a customer at least some point in their businesses. Getting a review or a feedback from a client can be a great thing for a business, only if it is a positive one. According to research, customers’ reviews are quite powerful and around 88% of customers are influenced by reading other customer’s reviews. With options of online feedback, customers can now broadcast their positive or negative experience with the whole world across the web. The avenues where they can publish such reviews are endless, such as Amazon, Yelp, BBB.org, Google Reviews and more. There are however various other websites as well such as ripoffreport.com which exists solely for the customers to post negative reviews about a business. It can be quite tricky and often quite difficult to deal with bad reviews written about your business as it can really impact your business in a negative manner. A study showed that about 80% of customers changed their minds about purchasing a product or a service after they read negative reviews about it online. As such, getting a bad review for your business is one thing and how to deal with it is yet another thing and both can have serious implications on the future of your business.
How to deal with bad review?
So you have had a negative review regarding your product or service. It is okay and you must move on. Bad reviews happen to businesses all the time. If it is your first bad review however, then it is probably quite disappointing and since it is simply one sided it makes you feel worse. However, how you respond to the negative feedback may determine the future of your business and this means that your response must be well decided and calculated. We have mentioned below a few pointers which you must follow before you respond to such a review.
To do’s and the don’ts
Don’t get upset
Many business owners get upset and angry when they read a bad review regarding their business. It is advisable not to respond to the review unless you have cooled down as responding to a negative feedback while you are upset yourself can make the situation worse. Never respond to a bad review when you are angry.
Decide whether it is worth responding
Some of the online reviews are generally not worth responding to. You can tell by the tone of the language used and how the writer’s opinions are, which may be irrational. Moreover, it may also be coming from somebody who complains frequently and this means that you might be better off not paying attention to such a complaint. Similarly, if somebody has written negative about your business in their personal blog, which is obviously unfair then it is better to ignore them. However, if the review is written by a genuine customer or a well known critique who generally writes reviews or if it is written on a popular website, then you must respond to them politely and clear the air.
Follow the rules of the website
There are many websites where you can post reviews and respond to them but they have certain rules and regulations which you must follow, such as typing rules. For example, they might not allow you to write in all CAPS. This means that you must respond to the review accordingly and also check to see whether the review written about your business is breaking the website rules or not.
Get inappropriate and false reviews removed
If you feel that the review written about your business is inappropriate or is false, for example if you think it has been written by your competitor then you can contact the website and have it removed. Other reasons for getting it removed may be if the review has personal attacks or contains profanity or private information.
Do research the incident
If you think it is a genuine bad review then you must research and get the story from your store staff or restaurant staff to see what really happened and find out more details. You can also ask the reviewer to contact you offline or you can send them a message asking for more details. If the review is on the social media like Facebook or Twitter then you can respond to them publicly and have them contact you privately to solve their concerns.
Do understand the customer’s point of view
You might not agree with the content of the bad review that you have just received from the customer, but you should always put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to think why they would post such a review regarding your product or service. Try to understand what the customer is feeling if you want to have an outcome that is successful.
Do respond privately
Most of the businesses respond to bad reviews by privately messaging the reviewer to solve the issue. You can also send them a small message, which is something like:
- You should introduce yourself first
- Thank the customer for using your business
- Thank the review for the feedback that they have provided
- Apologize to them for the fact that they had a negative experience with your business
- Give them an outline of what you think are their major concerns
It is also possible to do all of this without admitting that your business is at fault, if that is really the case. You must also ask them for further details and sometimes you probably need to improve a procedure of how a particular thing is done. In other instances you can also give the customer an offer like, giving them a free drink on the house or making up on their bill for the mistake the next time they visit, etc. If the customer has however raised some very serious concerns, then you must be careful about giving them such invitations as you might not know how they will respond to such favors.
Do respond publicly also
Once you have contacted the review in private then it is generally a good idea to post a message publicly as well, by acknowledging the concern and posting about what you have done to resolve the issue. This may also give a boost to your reputation with other readers who may find you very responsive with the feedback. If it is taking too long for the reviewer to get back to you, then you can simply post a public response so that others can know that you have tried your best to take a positive action regarding the incident.
Always be polite
A negative review is bad for the business but an aggressive and a rude response from you can simply make matters worse and damage the reputation of your business. When you are responding to such negative reviews, always remember to be professional and polite at the same time. You should never resort to personal attack or comments or insults, even if the other person is doing so. The same thing applies to your private messages as well as a customer can copy your private response and post it publicly also.
Do learn and move on
Most of the businesses which are successful always takes notes from such incidents and learn from them and so should you. You may use such reviews to learn from them and try to improve your business practices so that it does not happen again. However if the review is not fair to you then you must remember that:
- Your response can actually make you look better amongst your customers
- Majority of the customers read more than one review of a product/service
- Encouraging customers to write a positive review is the best choice for giving a balanced picture to the readers
The review websites
The main places where a customer may write a bad review regarding your business is usually at:
The Google reviews are there although not widely used as various other platforms but are very important since they appear on for your business on the search result page. These reviews posted on google reviews will probably be the first ones that a potential customer may see. Google reviews however allow the businesses to give their own feedback and respond to the reviews.
Yelp is one of the most popular review websites for service providers and it is known to have some of the most negative reviews. No business has control over Yelp reviews but customers can make changes to their comments, delete and update them as well and review and reply to the businesses’ comments.
It can be surprising that only a very small percentage of customers claimed that social media had any influence on their decision making regarding the purchase of products. Facebook allows business to be able to delete reviews from their business page, but this can backfire as an angry customers may take the complaint elsewhere and create more problems for the business.
Another place for reviews is the ripoffreport.com where the negative reviews will remain whether you respond or solve them as well. The ripoff report has a bit of a reputation, if the name of your business is there, then it means it is negative. The only way to get your name removed from the ripoff report is probably by going the court, which may be costly and time consuming.
There are countless other websites on the internet which are well known all over the world and where the customer may post a bad review regarding the business. The well known names are Dun and Bradstreet, Complaint.com as well as BBB which stands for Better Business Bureau. These are all reliable websites where the customers give feedback regarding their experience with a product and service. Many a times the business has the option of replying to them and solving the issue in order to fix the problem.
As mentioned already, all businesses go through negative or bad reviews at least some time in their careers. What you must do is to tackle it the right away and take it positively. A bad review does not mean your business is bad or the customer is wrong, it simply means either the customer was not served right and it was a mistake at your end or maybe the customer was just not having a good day and is hard to please. Whatever the case is, a bad review can actually be good for your business in many ways. It can allow you to see where you are making mistakes and this way you can improve your own business practices and maybe your staff is slacking off which you were not aware off. It might encourage you to spend more time at your workplace if it was solely run by your staff. It might also be able to build a stronger and a better relationship with your other clients than ever before. In fact, the customer who wrote the negative review may even become your new favorite customer for life! As such, a bad review should always be taken in a neutral way and always look for ways to learn something from it and use it for your business improvement.