How To Handle Bad Online Reviews

bad online reviews

Creating profiles on popular social media site like Yelp, Google +, Kudzu etc. can be a great way for  prospective customers to meet you where they search.

Having positive reviews can help a prospect nudge a little bit closer to interacting with you as they research your product or service.

Many people who use reviews to influence their decisions understand that there will be some suspiciously positive reviews as well as some very negative reviews posted. Reviews that are specific and authentic are the ones that are most effective.

So, how do we handle bad online reviews on one of our sites or directory?

Engage in a Conversation

If you are in business long enough, you know that customer expectations sometimes differ from what you delivered. Either there was a mis-communication, or perhaps, you did fail to deliver the best customer experience.

This is an opportunity to showcase your exceptional customer service. First, apologize for not meeting their expectation. Next, what can you do to “make it right”? Simply ask them – “what will it take to make you happy or keep your business?” It may cost you a few bucks initially, but you may be able to retain a long term customer. It could be a prudent investment.

Suggest to take the conversation offline to work out any resolution, conditional on their modification of the review.


Highlight The Positive Action

Make sure that you highlight your stellar track record of providing exceptional customer service. What, you don’t have a stellar track record of providing exceptional customer service? Begin to establish that ASAP. In the meantime, highlight the good work that you did provide.

“The steak was cooked perfectly, but we do apologize for not keeping your water glasses full. As a result, we are working on a system that ensures that all customers water is checked every 5 minutes.” We ask you to come back and challenge us to see if we can keep your water glasses replenished. We’ll also throw in a free appetizer. Ask for me, Bob. I am the evening manager on the weekends.”


Actively Manage Your Review Sites

It is important these days to establish and manage your online presence. Some business have accepted this and thrive in this area. Others reject the idea of internet marketing or struggle with it. If you struggle with this accept of your business, outsource it. Have your web designer, Digital Agency or other members of your team routinely check and manage your online resources.

There are tools available to track and monitor your online assets. You don’t want to have negative reviews sitting on a popular site unattended. This gives people the impression that you don’t care about serving the customer and will cost you business.


Initiate A Positive Review Strategy

The best way to deal with the few negative reviews you may experience is to outnumber them with positive reviews. Ask you customers to write a review.

Make it simple for them to do it. Send them a direct link to the review site and explain your intent to establish a long-term relationship. You can even provide some examples of what others have recently said. Some people have a difficult time typing their thoughts.


If you understand the value of online reviews sites, and the importance of managing this marketing strategy effectively, you should see an increase in new business from people that use the sites as influencers for making purchasing decisions. You can look forward to dealing with bad online reviews as you turn them into positive experiences and new customer.