How to Respond to Bad Online Reviews

If you’re in business long enough, it’s going to happen. Someone is going to say something bad about you online. It may or may not be true. It will be upsetting, and it will cause you to doubt everything you believe in. But, there is a way that you can turn bad online reviews into a demonstration of your company’s values and dedication to customers.


Take a Time Out and Get Offline

When you first see a bad online review your heart will likely stop, then start beating really fast. You’ll feel hot, and you’ll be bothered. It will hurt your feelings, and it will make you angry. But, it’s important to take a time out and not respond to anything when you first see a bad review. Just read it, then copy it, and get offline to think about it. You don’t want to think about it while you’re online because you may be tempted to respond in the heat of the moment.

When you first see a bad online review, take a time out and get offline! But don't delete it! Click To Tweet


Determine Whether or Not It’s Spam

Check you bad online review isn't spamSome bad online reviews are simply spam. If it’s a particularly nasty review with words that should not be online, I recommend that you cut and paste it into an editor. Next, take out all the bad words and leave behind the substance of the review. Is there anything left that you can take action on? If so, and you have the power to edit the review, put the new review up and respond; if not, leave it and respond as if it didn’t have any of the bad words. If it’s spam, delete it without response.

Try to Make It Right

Try to make it rightEven though you have a bad online review, it’s time to try to make it right. If you can fix the problem easily, do so. Since the customer took the complaint public, you can respond in part publicly by telling them what you’re willing to do to make it right and how sorry you are. In addition, use the opportunity to tell your readers the best way to contact your company with a complaint in order to have it dealt with before they get frustrated enough to give a bad online review. However, realistically that won’t stop some people who feel it’s easier to vent online! Those who are reading will judge your response more than whatever caused the bad online review to start with.


Get More Positive Reviews

business hand clicking excellent customer reviewsIf all your clients haven’t reviewed your service, send them an email asking for them to give you a review. Positive reviews can dilute even the worst online review. You should make it a habit to always send emails asking your customer to give you an online review. The best time to do this is right at the point where they’re most satisfied with your service. When I first ask my clients to do this they are very hesitant. Then, when they get the feedback and positive comments, they are really glad they did!

Positive reviews can dilute even the worst online review. Click To Tweet

If your customers don’t use the internet that much, then you can send or give them a form to complete and ask if they mind if you use their comments in your publicity.

By being proactive to fix the problem in the most professional way possible, you’ll usually defuse the issue. Never respond back emotionally; just try to fix it. Make the offer, and let it go. Move on. If it’s truly spam and you have a way to delete the review, then take it. If it’s a true criticism that you can work with, then do that. The key is to address the problem directly, professionally, and quickly.

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