Bad reviews are a fact of life. No matter how amazing your business is, someone at some time will write you a negative one.
But how do you handle bad reviews?
The first step is to make sure that the review is real. You can do this by reviewing your customer records, talking with your staff, and reaching out to the reviewer themselves.
Two of the main sources for fake reviews are competitors and disgruntled employees. Some shady advertising agencies will also write negative reviews against your competitors, so it’s possible that the review came from a service like that as well.
If through your due diligence you find out that the review is fake, that’s great! Now you just need to go through the dispute process with whatever the review site is (most have a way to dispute fake reviews). Be prepared to present the evidence you have that prove this reviewer wasn’t’ a customer of yours.
What if it’s not a fake review?
It’s okay if your company dropped the ball and let a customer down. Instead of getting upset about it, the first and most beneficial thing is to use these reviews as a learning opportunity!
Sit down with with your staff and discuss the issue. You can gather suggestions from your staff about how to prevent this problem in the future.
Next, you’ll want to reach out to the reviewer. Most review sites offer the business some way to “reply” to their reviews. This is NOT the time to argue with the customer.
Customers generally leave reviews when they feel very strongly about something. If someone is leaving a negative review, it’s probably because they genuinely feel wronged and they want some kind of validation.
That’s the key to turning negative reviews around: validating the reviewer’s feelings.
You’ll want to reach out to the reviewer and apologize for the experience that they had. This is a good time to ask them questions like “What can we do to make this right with you?” and “What can we do to prevent this issue from happening in the future?”. Disgruntled customers can be the best source of constructive (and often necessary) feedback!
Generally the customer will come back to you with some demands. If they’re reasonable enough, feel free to go ahead and make them happen. If they’re too steep then you need to work on a compromise.
After you’ve worked out a compromise and resolved the problem with the customer, try reaching out to and asking them to take down their negative review! You’d be surprised how many customers are willing to remove negative reviews completely, or even edit them to be positive reviews!
Sometimes the customer will be too angry to reply to you at all, and that’s okay too. In that situation it’s best to show the public “Hey, we want to resolve the situation” by leaving a validating and positive reply to the negative review. You can continue on with our tips in the above “Producing Content” section to get more positive reviews to dilute negative ones.