Reviews are an important part of online marketing. They offer social proof to customers and potential customers and have an impact on sales. while we all want great, 5 star reviews, unfortunately, bad reviews will crop up from time to time for the majority of businesses. Sadly, some people love to moan more than they like to praise. Luckily that is not the case all of the time, and 9 times out of 10 (or more), you are likely to get a great review, But what happens when something goes wrong – how should you approach dealing with bad reviews? We take a look at how you can take a bad review and turn it into a positive – trust us we have much experience. 

Our Experience 

We have worked with a national client for some time now. They started from nothing and grew into a multi-million pound company. Now, while an NDA means that we can’t reveal their identity, what we can tell you is that they have had their fair share of bad reviews along the way.

You see, when they started they had a very small team and direct control over every aspect of the business. If they got a bad review it was rare and it was for things that were largely outside of their control. It was when they started to scale their business that more negative reviews started to appear online – of course, the good reviews were coming at the same ratio, it was just there was more of everything. The bad reviews were for a variety of things – delivery times, product quality if they changed something, ignorance on the part of customers etc. It was how we dealt with these reviews that made the our time as a social media agency, we have dealt with our fair share of online bad reviews for a variety of customers. We are therefore well positioned to offer advice on dealing with bad reviews.  

Dealing with Bad Reviews 

Let’s look at a few ways in which you can deal with bad reviews, and even how you can turn these reviews into positive ones. 

1. Respond to it 

The mistake that many companies make is that they ignore bad reviews. Why would you just let someone say something and leave it? It’s like accepting that what that person says is fine, you don’t particularly care about it and have no intention of rectifying the issue. If you care about your business then you surely don’t want this to be the case.

In most instances, we endorse responding to a bad review. The only time we don’t is when it is reportable. By this we mean SPAM, competitors, malicious, slanderous or downright lies. Then we report to system moderators and wait for it to be taken down. 

With the majority of reviews, when responding, we start by investigating their claims. If you don’t know what they are referring to, ask a member of the team to look into it. If you want to respond straight away while you wait for the results of any investigation, write a reply saying that you are sorry to hear that they have had this experience and to bear with you while you investigate. If you want to take the issue offline, ask them to respond by email or by calling you. This way you have responded to the review and people will be able to see that you are dealing with the issue. 

Once you have all the facts and are ready to offer a full response, go back to the client either by email or by responding on their original review. Be careful how you respond and follow the below advice:

  • Don’t accuse the customer of lying 
  • Don’t give wishy washy excuses 
  • Own it – if you made a mistake – own up to it – people will respect your honesty. Apologise for the inconvenience 
  • Offer a solution – if you are going to refund the client, be sure to demonstrate this (unless this will open up a can of worms for more refunds) 
  • Don’t take too long to investigate
  • If you say you are going to investigate, make sure you follow up
  • Don’t try and blame others for your mistakes 
  • Be polite, friendly and apologetic 

2. Don’t Get Angry and Defensive

It’s too easy to get defensive and respond straight away with a comment that you may not have thought through particularly well. While you may be keen to respond, we recommend putting spa holding reply to say that you have seen the review and that you are looking into the matter. Then take time to calm down and structure a response that is polite and friendly. 

If you think that the review is unjust you could politely explain your company policies or a brief explanation of the situation but keep the tone friendly and don’t come across as angry or rude. 

3. Follow up with client 

Once you have responded to the review and resolved the issue for the customer satsifactorily, the next step in dealing with bad reviews is to ask them if they would mind revising their review. If they gave you a one star and you feel it was a little harsh, ask them if they would mind changing it to a 3 star because of how it was dealt with. If you send out a replacement product and the customer is happy, maybe they will even revise the review to an even better one. If they receive a full refund and are happy that the matter is closed, perhaps they will remove the review entirely. 

It’s always worth asking the customer if they would mind revising or removing the review – they have the right to say no, but if they say yes, it’s good for business, right?

4. Listen and Pay Attention to Their Comments

One bad review that they didn’t like the colour or that the delivery took too long isn’t anything to worry about however, when you start to receive reviews and feedback about the same issue then it is time to take heed and act quickly. Consistent bad reviews about the same thing are a strong indication that there is something wrong with your products or service and that you need to address this immediately. 

Always read the reviews and ask yourself honestly if this is something you need to be concerned with. If so, fix it. 

5. Ask for More Positive Reviews

A bad review hangs around at the top of the list of reviews until the next one comes along – this is certainly the case in many instances – in some cases, it won’t be long until it is buried further down. However, if it that one bad one is right at the top and reviews are ordered chronologically, it means you need some fresh 5 star reviews to move it down. Send out an email or message to happy customers asking if they would mind leaving you a review. 

If you don’t have many reviews and this one bad one is making your star rating look bad, a number of new, positive reviews will soon increase the average score and give you experience in dealing with bad reviews while turning a negative to a positive. 

6. Showcase Your Good Reviews 

Share your positive reviews! You may be thinking “how will this help me with bad reviews?” but if you are sharing your good reviews online for all to see, they may not need anymore than this and may not go looking through your reviews to single out any bad ones. This proactive approach to marketing means that you are sharing customer endorsements of your products and services. If you get reviews praising a particular part of the service, offering more detail than a simple 5 stars, create a graphic and share it on your Instagram, Facebook and other social platforms and add it to your website. You could even tag the product being reviewed in the post or share a link to the website – they may just click and buy on the strength of this one positive review. Nothing like sharing good news.

how to deal with bad reviews

How to Get More Reviews

Now that we’ve looked at dealing with bad reviews, let’s take a look at how to get some fresh ones and to get them on a consistent basis. 

  • Business cards with “Leave us a review”
  • Links on website to leave reviews
  • Sending emails to follow up and ask
  • Asking your customers when you see them
  • Going back through past reviews and sending a personal request to customers
  • Asking in your social media posts
  • Sending a note out with product deliveries

The more good reviews you can get the better, but don’t ingnore those bad ones and don’t worry. We often feel that an average score of 4.5-4.9 looks more realistic than 5. After all, perfection is not easy to achieve. It’s much better that you deal with the bad reviews effectively and don’t forget to thank those that have left food ones.