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How to Respond to a Bad Online Review

The majority of customers report that they leave reviews online based on how they feel they were treated by a brand, regardless of how good the food was or how great the clothing they purchased fit. Customers who feel like they were treated well are likely to leave reviews – but customers who are upset with their treatment are even more likely to share their sometimes-scathing thoughts with the world. A critical review is upsetting, but with proper handling, you can minimize the damage or even turn that complaint into a positive experience for your brand.


5 Things to Do When You Get a Bad Review


Take a Pause


Your first instinct is going to be to forge ahead, feel attacked, or even leave a less-than-diplomatic response in anger. You do have to respond eventually, but waiting and taking the time to leave a measured and useful response can help turn that negative review around. Every person who visits Yelp or the site the review appears on will see not just the original post, but your response as well. Respond hastily, and you could end up impacting your business for years to come. Wait at least 24 hours, calm down, and plan an approach that will benefit your brand and not harm it.


Plan on Responding


You should respond to every review you receive; you can’t ignore the negative review or hope it will go away. Responding to the complaints you receive can actually boost the impression that potential customers have of your brand. Ignoring a negative review simply shows that you do not care enough to respond and means you can’t showcase how well you handle issues that arise.


Do Some Research


Was the food cold? Did the customer have to wait? Did your team drop the ball somehow? Research the issue to see if you have an underlying problem. One complaint about bad service could be an isolated incident, but multiple complaints could indicate a real problem with your location or brand.


Solve the Problem


If possible, resolve the issue or fix the problem—the faster you do so, the better. Because most bad reviews feature an actual complaint, you have an opportunity to correct things. Let your customer know they have been heard, that you are taking steps to address their specific complaint and that you are ensuring that others do not have the same unpleasant experience goes a long way towards soothing an outraged customer.


Gather Some Positives


If you do not already have a plan in place to generate reviews from satisfied customers, consider coming up with a strategy to do so. An app, an email campaign, or even an in-store prompt can remind delighted customers to leave reviews. The more positives you rack up, the less of an impact a negative will have on your overall standing.


Taking the time to respond to every review you receive, especially the negative ones, shows your prospective customers that you care and helps differentiate your brand from the competition. A critical review is not pleasant, but it can provide you with an opportunity to show off your stellar customer service skills and shows how well you care for your clients, too.