Business Owners’ Guide To Bad Review Management | Local SEO Checklist Blog


As a business owner, it’s never easy to see someone bash your business online just because of one less-than-perfect experience with your product or service.

Before you call up your lawyer to see if you can win a defamation case against Ms.X for saying so and so, let’s address the issue at hand. Someone was dissatisfied with your product/service and is talking about it.

Now, what are you going to do about this?

Before you draw arms, take a step back and see the window of opportunity you have here. A chance to change the mind of a potential lost customer, and maybe even bring in some new business by simply responding as a concerned human being.

Act Quickly!

First of all, make sure that you are monitoring your reviews on a daily or weekly basis so that you’re always up to date on the latest mentions of your business anywhere on the web. You can use services such as Synup, FreeReviewMonitoring or ReviewPush to keep track of your reviews across various platforms.

When you see a bad review, you should reply as soon as possible to show your customers that you do care about what they have to say, and that you are always striving to be better. Your response should be careful and thought out so as not to add fuel to the fire.

It also helps if you deviate the anger they’re expressing (and possibly spreading) to a more private conversation, especially if the problem is detailed and you want to avoid creating a scene on that particular media. This can be done with simple replies such as “We regret the inconvenience caused by our service and we would appreciate it if you could email us at <email> to prevent this from happening again”

Don’t Take It Personally

Yes, someone has said something bad about you behind your back. You don’t need to feel ambushed by these kind of comments. Use the negative feedback as constructive criticism to improve your service. Not every instance of service delivery can be perfect. After all, we are only human and we do make mistakes.

If You Ignore It, It Will NOT Go Away

The thing about bad news is, it spreads much faster than good news. If you ignore bad reviews, they are more likely to spread without you noticing and eventually, affect your bottom line.

Dig Deeper

There is no smoke without fire. If someone is saying something bad about you, there is probably a reason for it. Verify how much of the review is true and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. Whether it was coffee that wasn’t hot enough, service that took longer than expected, or just a result of an employee’s bad day, it is your job to find the root of the problem and fix it.

For a customer, it is very important that a service they have paid for, is offered at the best quality. Anything less, and you are accountable for it. When this happens, offer your apologies, and let them know that you will in fact rectify the situation so that it doesn’t happen again.

Don’t Play The Blame Game

When a customer faces a genuine issue with your business, the last thing he/she wants to see is you passing the buck on to someone else.

If there was a serious problem, address it. Explain the circumstances if you have to, apologize for the customer’s negative experience, and if you can, thank them for taking the time to bring the issue to your attention. Never try to evade the problem or blame someone else.

Forgive And Forget

Acknowledging a problem and accepting your mistake goes a long way in changing people’s minds about your business. A lot of customers are willing to forget an isolated incident if you apologize and offer some kind of compensation for their troubles. If customer faced issues with your auto servicing centre, try offering a free oil change the next time they come around.

Ignore The Haters

There will always be someone out there trying to be petty and trolling on your profile. It’s always better not to respond to any kind of personal attacks or vulgar reviews. Engaging with these kind of people just brings your business down to their level.

Direct Feedback

If you aren’t too comfortable handling public reviews and want to get feedback directly from your clients, you can always create an e-mail feedback system. This way, you can reach out to your customers after they leave your premises, thanking them for doing business with you and asking whether or not they were satisfied with your service.

You can use yes/no buttons to direct their responses to the appropriate action. If they click yes, they would be redirected to review sites such as yelp and asked to post a review. If they click no, they can be directed to a formal comment section where they can highlight why they were dissatisfied with your service.

At the end of the day, you want happy customers with only good things to say about your business. You can make this happen by paying attention to their needs both during and after the service is delivered.

If you’re still stuck with responding to the review, you can use one of the review response templates from here.

About the author

Suzana Joel

I'm Suzana: your average twenty-something year old who is currently scaling the local SEO summit. When I'm AFK, I'm sipping on some masala chai and reading a good book.
(Follow me on Twitter at Suzana_joel080)

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By Suzana Joel