A scathing one-star review can come as a shock to you when you’ve spent so much time ensuring that your business’s customer service is excellent and that your products and services are top-notch. When this does happen, take a deep breath and remember that it happens to every business, so you’re not alone. As long as you handle it well and don’t let bad reviews become the norm, you’ll be fine!
When you discover that someone has given you one star and a biting description to go with it, you may be tempted to do a number of rash things—go out and give them a piece of your mind, write an equally savage response in your anger, or maybe just sit down and cry. With the possible exception of crying, do not do any of these! Remember that this review should not be taken personally, and it’s not the end of the world or your business. In fact, the people who do research reviews on your business before visiting will get suspicious if you consistently get 4 or 5 stars. A sprinkling of bad reviews is healthy, as long as you keep it to just a sprinkling. Before you even go to read reviews about your business, know yourself and how you react when you’re insulted. Generally, responding to every review is the best route, because it really increases the quality of your customer service and can sometimes even turn a bad reviewer into an avid fan. However, if you know that you’ll only be able to respond in anger, you’ll definitely want to have someone in a calmer state of mind look over your response before you send it. Sometimes, the person who left the bad review is simply a troll who won’t be reasoned with. Although they are rare, learn to spot these reviews and use caution when responding—or not responding. A bad response will always reflect in a worse way on your business than if you had left it alone.
Taking Care of Business
So what, then, should you say in response? Navigating this terrain can be tricky and difficult to get used to. Don’t ever try to sue the customer or review site. (This may seem like common sense, but it’s been done before, and it obviously doesn’t end well.) Don’t try to offer explanations or excuses; instead, begin with a sincere apology and own up to the mistakes. This looks better from the points of view of both the reviewer and any prospective customers, and in hindsight, you’ll be proud of it, too. You may want to give the reviewer a phone number or email where they can speak with you directly. Doing this at the end of your response will leave the reviewer with a positive impression. If the customers leaving bad reviews are consistently complaining about the same things, this will reflect very badly on your business, because everyone can see that those reviewers experienced the same problems and are not simply looking to start a fight. You should always try to remedy the problem with every bad review and make sure in your response that the customer knows you will fix it. Letting the reviewer know specifically what you have done to fix the issue will increase confidence in your customers, and inviting them back is one of the best gestures you can do. Oftentimes, a customer will return after a bad experience and leave a much improved review the second time around. This new review will show that not only did you listen to the customer about their experience, but also that you promptly fixed the problem instead of whining about it. Listening and responding to every bad review will keep you from getting to the point where the same problems are being repeated across your reviews.
Every situation is different, and in some cases, all you can do is ignore the review. Once you’ve made sure to do all that you can, don’t let the bad review keep you up at night! Remember that it’s impossible to please 100% of your customers, and that an occasional bad review will not hurt your overall ratings. As long as you don’t let the bad reviews become consistent, you can let it go!