Got a Bad Review on Google or Facebook?
Don’t panic. Sit back, relax, and listen to Patrick Stewart, read you some actual online reviews about places you know.
What to Do About a Bad Review
First remember that everyone gets a bad review now and then. Even the very best and biggest companies get bad reviews. When you are smaller and reputation is everything, a bad review can be extremely stressful. But don’t panic! Simply remember they will happen and there is a way to deal with them.
Haters Gonna Hate
The examples Mr. Stewart provides are real reviews of some of the most impressive things on our planet. Yet some take the time to go online and complain about them, often with ridiculous demands on what they expect, including that the Statue of Liberty should be an amusement ride.
The people that write these reviews are an unhappy lot in the first place. They are difficult to please and have unreasonable expectations. Or they are sick little inkblots who crave attention and think this is a smart way to get it.
The point is that these people are out there, and sooner or later, one of them will come into contact with your business, just as they do all others.
Don't Let Emotion Take Control
A bad review for a lot of people is like a knife in the back. It hurts, and it can make you very angry.
Rest assured, other people will read it. Then they will make a judgment about the person who wrote it.
Think about that for a moment. Readers will judge the person who wrote it first. Then they will look at the other reviews and comments.
So if you respond in anger, they will read your response and make a judgment on you. Don’t let the new reader do that. Don’t let the bad reviewer win by egging you on into a competition to see who can be meaner.
Take a deep breath, and don’t respond while you’re mad or upset.
If You Can, Reach Out
If this person was in your business and did not say anything about being dissatisfied or unhappy while they were there, a phone call may be in order. Be polite and let them know you saw the review, and you are just wondering what went wrong and how you can help resolve the situation. If it’s reasonable to do so, do your best to make them happy.
If it truly is a reasonable person whose not demanding you do things for free, you might be able to work it out, then request that they remove or update the review.
If you are unable to get a favorable response, move on to the next step.
Don't Respond Online to The Bad Reviewer: Respond to Everyone Else Reading it.
We helped one client with a bad review discover that the person who made it, was in fact, mentally handicapped and living in an assisted living facility. The staff there told us that if this person gets near a computer, she gets a laugh out of writing the worst review she can think of. There was no way to work anything out, so we helped them craft a response to everyone else who happens to read that review.
What kind of respond is entirely dependent on your exact situation, but in general, here’s what you want to do:
1. Acknowledge the issue – keep it simple like “Thank you for letting us know about the issue.”
2. Apologize – a simple “We provide a high quality of service, and we genuinely apologize for not meeting your expectations.”
3. Provide an explanation, if necessary – “We experienced a severe technical issue with our scheduling software, which resulted in the loss of your appointment information. Our provider has since fixed the issue.” Be careful to take responsibility, apologize even if the other party was and wrong, and offer advice on how to re-engage with your company.
4. Offer to compensate the reviewer appropriately. For example, offer 20% off on their next visit.
5. Invite the reviewer to discuss it offline. “Please contact me via phone or email personally, and at your earliest convenience.”
Your response may vary, but those five points generally work and will leave the impression of you as the good guy.
5. Enjoy People Laughing at Your Unreasonable Review
Now that you’ve approached the review calmly and directly, you’ll likely reread it and realize it didn’t matter in the first place. In general, people are reasonable, and when they read a nasty review that is chock full of bad grammar, misspellings, and whining, they will see it as unreasonable.
Don’t believe me? Watch Patrick Stewart again. Read the comments on YouTube for the video. Everyone is laughing at the reviewers, not the review.
Have faith, with a nasty review, potential customers will do the same, and will appreciate a solid response.
Bad things happen. How we respond to them matters more.