7 steps to resolving a negative or bad review

Social media’s power over us and our customers is amazing, but also terrifying when things do not go our way. With my involvement in marketing and web development I find myself helping my clients with bad reviews on Facebook occasionally and giving them guidance on what to do, and what not to do.

When we receive a negative review on social media it not only hurts our businesses, it also effects us on a personal level. We have made this our lives’ work just to be criticized over something not turning out right, a mistake, or a bad apple employee. Read this post and I will pass along the information I give to my clients.

1. Respond, but not too quickly

You want to respond quickly to negative reviews and low quality reviews, the longer they are online without a response, the longer other customers or potential clients see them without an explanation. This could give others who may not be 100% satisfied with your products/services a catalyst to discuss their grievances on your company’s page/profile. If you respond too quickly though, you may still have some unchecked emotions. Get them in check first.

2. Take the issue out of the public face.

Responding to a negative review publicly is good, within reason. Discuss the problem over the phone, in email, or using another method, you may unintentionally provide cannon fodder to the unsatisfied customer, or another person.

Many times the solution will include free products/services, reimbursements, or refunds. If you disclose this publicly on the customer’s complain, you may find that many more people will complain about that same problem to get the same product or reimbursement.

3. Be kind, even if they are not.

Kindness kills. No matter how angry or unreasonable a customer is, just remember not to lose your head. If you lose your head they will feel justified with their anger. If you keep your cool and try to explain the situation they may become angrier, however the anger tends to be focused inside themselves.

4. Ask them to remove or update their reviews.

If you successfully make a customer happy and correct the problem after they posted a negative review, ask them to go back and update the review. They don’t need to remove the review unless they would like to, just say they are satisfied now, and that the company worked to correct the problem. Changing a 1 or 2 star to a 4 or 5 star will keep your overall ratings up plus people don’t generally read the positive reviews, just the 1 or 2 star reviews.

5. Take negative reviews seriously.

Don’t be angry with the customer, they left the review for a reason. Generally it has to deal with emotions such as anger, disappointment and being upset.

What would you do if you received a product/service and it isn’t what you expected?
Chances are that you would be upset. Does that make you right? It could be that you were told that you would receive something and you haven’t. However sometimes customers do not read/listen to all of the text, or it isn’t clearly stated, or they interpret it differently than written or said.

What if one of your employees did something specific to cause this emotion?
Sometimes your employees are having a bad or off day and become the cause of the review. This is something that you need to handle with your employee and prevent the problem from happening in the future, however you also need to discuss this with the customer and make them happy again.

6. Share reviews with your employees

Sharing reviews with you employee is good for two purposes. When employees see the positive reviews it makes them feel good about the company they work for, and if they helped with that customer, they feel good about their work and keep working towards an higher standard. When you share the negative reviews with your employees, make sure not to put the blame off on them, but show them where there are problems, and help them become stronger in the skill that they are lacking in.

7. Encourage other customers to leave reviews

Encouraging customers to leave positive reviews is an excellent way to overpower the few negative reviews that you may receive. Not every customer of yours will have a negative experience, if they do you might want to consider a career change.

Things to remember

  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • Ridiculous reviews will be viewed as such, just respond to them, and limit what you are willing to offer them.
  • Negative reviews don’t implicitly mean your company is bad, just that you are not the right fit for the customer.

These are not the only ways to go towards resolving a negative review, but they are some of the best that I have found over my near 10 years of experience.

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