How to Respond to a Bad Review in the Best Way Possible

How to Respond to a Bad Review in the Best Way Possible

If you own a business, chances are, it’s taken you years to get it up and running.

Not to mention the untold blood, sweat, and tears that were required to make it all happen.

But now that you’ve built an online presence, it seems anyone with an internet connection can bash your business with impunity.

And when people say nasty things about your business online, it really hurts, especially when it’s taken you years to get it started.

When this happens, you’ll probably want to let them have it, but what you should be doing is learning how to respond to a bad review in the best way possible.

That being said, while it’s important to know how to respond to bad reviews, it’s just as important to understand best practices for responding to all online reviews, both good and bad.

Because no matter how tempting it might be, blasting someone for leaving a bad review of your business is a very bad look and it’s not something you can easily recover from.

At the same time, if you choose to ignore the negative reviews altogether, and just respond to the positive ones, or avoid responding to any reviews at all, you could end up doing just as much damage.

For instance, a survey from BrightLocal, which polled more than 1,100 U.S. consumers, shows just how important it is to respond to every single review, regardless of whether they’re good or bad.

As you can see from the graph below, consumers will base their decision on whether to do business with you based on how you respond to online reviews.

survey from BrightLocal

For instance, 88% of respondents said they’re more likely to do business with you if you respond to both positive and negative reviews, but if you only respond to negative reviews, or only respond to positive reviews, that number drops by at least 30%.

What’s more, this survey found that consumers are 41% more likely to give their business to a company that responds to all its reviews, versus one that doesn’t respond to any.

As you can see, online reviews are something you just can’t ignore, and if you want to avoid hurting your reputation, you should be responding to all of them.

But if you don’t know how to respond to a bad review, then this may seem incredibly overwhelming.

Luckily, this article will tell you everything you need to know about responding to bad reviews online, and handling online reviews in general, so you can avoid ruining your business’ online reputation and have happier and more satisfied customers.


How to Respond to a Bad Review the Right Way

How to Respond to a Bad Review the Right Way

Believe it or not, if you respond to bad reviews, it can benefit your business in many different ways.

Responding to bad reviews exudes transparency and accountability, along with a willingness to address concerns, and it shows that you value all the feedback you get from your customers, including the bad stuff.

This all helps to build trust with your customers, improve your online reputation, and rebuild trust with those who’ve left a bad review of your business.

But if you want your efforts to be successful, you’ve got to know how to respond to a bad review in the best way possible. Here’s what you need to know:


Stay Calm and Professional

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve witnessed business owners going to war with bad reviewers online, and whenever we do, we can’t help but laugh.

Because there’s nothing to gain from this type of behaviour, and all it does is make the business owner look bad.

And let’s be honest – a lot of these bad reviews are bogus, and they’re being left anonymously by other businesses trying to ruin their competitors’ reputations.

That being said, in most cases, there’s probably no reason to take things personally.

At the same time, it’s natural to feel defensive or upset when reading negative feedback about your business, but maintaining a calm and professional demeanor in your response is crucial.

Responding emotionally or being defensive about it can escalate the situation and potentially harm your reputation further.


Provide a Solution or Explanation

If possible, you should also offer to rectify the situation by proposing a solution that demonstrates your commitment to the satisfaction of your customers.

For example, you could offer a replacement, refund, or other form of compensation, depending on the nature of the complaint.

But if the negative review stems from a misunderstanding or misinformation, you should politely provide clarification without placing blame on the reviewer.

Even if what the reviewer’s saying is completely false, it’s important to clear up these kinds of misconceptions, as this can help mitigate the impact of any negative feedback.


Acknowledge the Feedback

You should also make sure to acknowledge the reviewer’s experience and address their concerns.

And don’t forget to express gratitude for their feedback, regardless of its nature, as this demonstrates that you value your customers’ opinions and are committed to addressing any issues that they may experience.


Apologize Sincerely

Even if you believe the criticism is unfounded or unfair, offering a sincere apology shows empathy and a willingness to understand the customer’s perspective.

Also, keep in mind that apologizing does not necessarily mean admitting fault, but rather, acknowledging the inconvenience or dissatisfaction the customer has experienced.


Take the Conversation Offline

If the issue requires further discussion or resolution, and you think it’s appropriate, you should provide contact information so the reviewer can reach out to you privately.

This demonstrates your commitment to resolving the matter discreetly and professionally and can help you mend your relationship with the customer and win them over once again.


More Tips for Responding to Online Reviews

Aside from the advantages we already mentioned above, responding to online reviews can benefit your business in a variety of ways.

For instance, engaging with reviews, positive or negative, can improve your search engine visibility by showing activity and engagement on your business listings.

But if you want to avoid causing problems, or embarrassing yourself and your business, you’ve got to know how to respond to online reviews in the best way possible.

With that in mind, here are some tips on best practices for responding to online reviews:


Monitor Regularly and Respond Promptly

If you want to promptly address customer feedback, regularly monitoring your reviews is essential.

Moreover, timely responses – which should take place within 24-48 hours – demonstrate your attentiveness and let your customers know that their opinions are valued.


Personalize Your Responses and Show Empathy

Personalizing responses to reviews is key to fostering genuine connections with customers.

Addressing reviewers by name and referencing specific details from their feedback shows sincerity and reinforces that their input has been considered and is being taken seriously.

What’s more, expressing empathy, regardless of whether the review is positive or negative, helps to humanize the interaction and build rapport.


Respond to Every Review

As you now know, regardless of whether they’re good or bad, both existing and potential customers want to see that you’re reacting to your reviews.

If you look at our Google reviews, for instance, you’ll notice that we’ve responded to pretty much every review we’ve ever gotten, including the couple of bad ones we’ve received.

Now, based on the nature of your business, and how many reviews you’re getting, this might not be feasible, but if it is possible, you should be responding to every single review.


If There’s a Problem, Fix It

While it is important to respond to all of your reviews, often a response just isn’t enough.

If a customer has a real problem with any of your products and/or services, you can’t just say you’re sorry, walk away, and forget about it.

As much as you may want to overlook the issue, putting your head in the sand and ignoring it won’t make it go away; it’s just going to make people angry and harm your reputation.

That being said, if a customer has a legitimate problem, then you need to fix it. Period.


Want to save money on your payment processing? Contact us today to find out how we can help.

What our clients say about us

Let’s Simplify Your Payment Processing