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How to Handle Bad Online Reviews

Design Angler - Wednesday, March 07, 2018

If you received a bad review online it is important to remember 2 things.

  • No matter how good your business is, there will likely be someone who will leave a bad review.
  • A bad review does not mean that your company is bad.

How you handle bad reviews left by a customer can say more about your company than the review itself. There is a phenomenon called the service recovery paradox, which is the result of a very positive service recovery creating a level of customer satisfaction and loyalty even greater than expected had no service failure happened. The service recovery paradox suggests that when a good review is handled properly you may be able to convert them to a loyal customer for your product/service. You should do the following to ensure that you are handling bad reviews properly.

Make sure that the account is legit
A fraudulent review has the potential to be removed from Google after they have reviewed the request and confirmed it is indeed fraudulent. If it is a fraudulent review Google has a step by step guide on how to flag fraudulent reviews. Some fraudulent reviews will not be confirmed by Google and will stay on the page. These reviews are typically left by competitors, but this review could be a golden ticket. If this happens to you simply reply back with

“We are terribly sorry you were not satisfied with our service/product. Please accept a 100% refund on your purchase and hopefully this will never happen again. Please email us and we can get the necessary information we need to proceed with the full refund.”

This is a great way to respond to fraudulent reviews while still showing that you empathize with the customer (even though the customer is fake.) It’s always important to remember that potential customers will not know that the bad review was a fake, so you want to show you care as much as possible no matter who it is.

Never Lash Out
You may be upset that you received this review, but never lash out or retaliate toward the customer. Do not question their credibility when responding to a review or type anything in ALL CAPS. This will show other potential customers who are looking at the reviews that you do not care about the customer and just make excuses. This customer may even have a legit complaint that should be taken seriously. Whatever the case, Design Angler suggests that you never respond to the bad review within the first 30 seconds of observing it. Write a rough draft, leave it for a minute, then come back and read the reply out loud before you hit enter.

Respond Quickly
It is true that you want to take a minute before responding, however, you should respond to a bad review within the first hour of noticing it. Never put off your response to a bad review, or any review for that matter. If a customer leaves any type of review you should always respond. When responding to a review it is important to remember

  • Do not make excuses
  • Assure the customer that it will never happen again
  • Offer a solution to fix the problem

After you respond to the review you should privately follow up with the customer through email or phone. This provides an opportunity to ask them if they were satisfied with the solution you proposed and you would greatly appreciate changing their review to reflect a positive outcome. If they say no, at least you have proof with the reply to the review that you do indeed care about your customers.

Bonus!!!
Design Angler has discovered poor advice online suggesting to “flood the bad reviews out.” This is bad advice. Do not leave 5 star fraudulent reviews for your company and do not ask 50 people to review your company in the time span of a day. Google shows the “most helpful reviews” which is a mixture of good and bad reviews. The attempt to flush out bad reviews is only a bandaid to fix the average star rating, it is not a solution to fix the real problem.

If you have any questions on how to deal with reviews or need help, please feel free to contact Design Angler. On a side note, if you would like to increase your positive reviews, check out 5 ways to encourage your customers to leave reviews.

Contact Us 5 Ways to Encourage Your Customers