How to Respond to a Bad Online Review

How to Respond to a Bad Online Review


It can happen to the best of us — our business received a bad online review. If you’ve had one, you know that sinking feeling you get when you see it. If you haven’t had one, you’re probably dreading it and wondering how you’ll handle it.

First, take a deep breath and remember that you can’t please everyone. Try not to take the bad online review personally. Next, try to look at this as an opportunity. Your customer has had a disappointing experience, but now you have a chance to address that and turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied one.

So, how do you respond to that bad review? What will you say?

1. Start by reading the online review carefully. If possible, look up any information you can about your interaction with the customer, such as customer orders or emails. It helps to know the details of your interaction with the customer. Think carefully about the customer’s complaint and consider if there’s something you could have done differently.

2. If the review is on a public site (such Yelp or Google My Business) respond to the review by thanking them for their review. Let them know you’re sorry they’ve had a bad experience. Depending on the review site, you may be able to contact them directly. If so, let them know you’re going to do that. If not, ask them to get in touch with you so can try to resolve their complaint. Do not try to resolve it in public and get into a back and forth on a review site or Facebook.

3. When you contact the client, thank them again for the feedback and acknowledge their feelings. Don’t blame the customer, even if you feel very strongly that they are wrong. If you feel that your business did not live up to your own standards, you should acknowledge that.

4. Offer a resolution. If the customer is upset about a product they purchased, you can offer a refund or an exchange. If they’re not happy with a service you provided, you might want to offer a discount or offer to fix whatever is wrong. Many times customers do not complain directly to the company because they don’t think the company will do anything about it. Even a small gesture can go a long way towards restoring goodwill with your customer and showing that you genuinely care about their experience.

The good news is that most customer complaints can be resolved and you’ll often have a customer who is pleased that you went above and beyond to satisfy them. You can’t make every customer happy, but you should always try to resolve the customer’s complaint as quickly as possible. However it ends, thank them for the feedback and the opportunity to try and resolve it.

For more information, please see these other articles on online reputation management, or visit our Online Reputation Management Service page.