The longer you’re in business and the more customers you work with, it’s likely at some point you will have to deal with a bad review. And these days, unhappy customers have the opportunity to go and share their unhappiness with their 700 closest friends and worse, with all the HAPPY customers, on your FB page by writing a review. So what should you do with that blaring 1* review sitting there for all the world to see? It’s so important to handle bad reviews with caution and care. People are watching. They are looking to see if you reply, your tone and the ethos of your business in that review. Here’s my tips for replying to a negative review.

1. Always reply!

First and foremost, never ignore any review, but especially the bad ones. It looks so bad when companies don’t respond to whatever the criticism is. Check your reviews regularly and be sure to thank the reviewers who write something good and to acknowledge and thank the reviewers who write something bad. People go online to share their experience because they are mad and want you to know about it, so make them feel acknowledged and heard.

2. Be humble.

You don’t necessarily need to admit you are in the wrong, if you aren’t, but be sure to validate their concerns and make them feel like you want to make things right. If you are in the wrong, apologize and go above and beyond to compensate, even offering them double what the incident cost them. You’d be surprised what a little bit of generosity can do to change someone’s opinion!

3. Move the conversation offline.

Whether you give them an email or phone number, try to get the conversation moved OFF of social media so you can mitigate the damage ASAP. This shows people you responded but also ends the public discussion.

4.  Don’t be defensive.

Your Facebook page is not the place to have a full blown argument with a customer about who said what or who did what, don’t be argumentative and as hard as it may be, as a business, you should ALWAYS take the high road. Never engage in a back and forth argument.

5. Repeat your values.

You could say something about how you’re so sorry that they experienced something unpleasant at your business, but that their experience is not typical and it’s part of your core values to make every customer happy.

6. Work on getting good reviews!

It’s estimated to take 10-12 good reviews to make up for a bad one, so start asking every single person you work with to go home and give you a thumbs up! You can’t incentivize people to give you good reviews, but you can give them an incentive to simply write a review.

7. Ignore the trolls.

Internet trolls are a very real thing. They prowl the internet looking for innocent businesses that they can throw their unintelligible vomit of misspelled words, obscenities and downright weird insults at. If you receive a review from an Internet troll, just ignore it. I believe the average person is smart enough to sniff out these trolls and disregard their feedback. How do you know if it’s a troll? Usually, it’s written by someone you’ve never even done business with, or maybe a customer you’ve apologized to already. In some cases, they will mention another business directly (and you may suspect it’s the competition writing the review). The review will sound like it’s written by a crazy person, and you really can’t reason with a crazy person!

Some example replies: 

“Thank you for your feed back, Amanda, we are so sorry to hear that you (put in the details of the situation). We would love to discuss this more and figure out how we can make it up to you. Can you give Carrie a call at 509-555-5555?”

“Thanks for taking time to write a review Robert, our goal is always to make every customer feel appreciated and valued. Can you message our page or give our manager Tim a call at 509-555-5555 so we can discuss this further? Thank you!

 “Hi Susan, we hate to hear of any of our clients being unhappy. We’re sorry there was not more we could do in your situation, please contact us at 509-555-5555 to see if there is anything else we can do to help you.”

How to Answer a Bad Review on Social Media

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