How to Address Bad Reviews

How to Address Bad Reviews

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A lot of small businesses are focused on not getting negative reviews which stops them from getting reviews in general. In our previous post, we talked about the biggest mistake people could be making – The Biggest Online Reputation Mistake Local Businesses Make – and that is, not getting their name out there and not focusing on getting more reviews and being crippled by negative reviews.

That’s the worst mistake you can make because all negative reviews are an opportunity to earn a customer for life!

Customers like these are opening an opportunity for you to fix their problem and if you handle this situation appropriately and they become a happy customer? Then you’ll have a loyal customer in return.

So treat a negative review as an opportunity to earn a customer for life.

But in the chance that you do get a negative review, what you need to do is have a good game plan to address it.

Anyone who leaves a negative review just wants to get heard and so give them that opportunity. Let them speak and make them feel that you’re listening, don’t get defensive be willing to take action to fix the problem.

Here is how to address bad reviews and fix the situation:

1. Contact the Person & Respond Right Away

Whether it’s on Yelp, Google or Facebook there’s a method for reaching out to somebody.

For Yelp, you can respond privately, but for other platforms, you typically have to respond publicly.

If you’re in a business where you know who the customer is and you know what their complaint is just pick up the phone and call them to apologize for whatever it is. Address it right away and don’t wait and let this issue linger. Don’t get too proud because this review is going to sit right there forever and affect your business. So, suck up your pride a little bit and address the situation.


Most customers leave negative reviews, and do so because they want attention. Especially if they felt like, the business did them wrong and they felt that something could have handled better.

So, when you contact somebody, give them the chance to talk, take a moment to ask them what happened? Who was involved and what we can do to fix them?

By proactively asking how you can make things better, you can avoid a bad experience from happening again especially if the fault is from the owner or if the person involved is the manager.

In this situation, typically an apology can fix the situation.

At the same time, you don’t want to give up your backbone if this is just an unhappy customer, there is no way you can convert this into a happy customer.

However, unfortunately, a lot of people just immediately quit on negative reviews and don’t invest the time in fixing the situation.

2. Be Personable, Understanding and Empathetic

We all have dealt with bad businesses in the past, and there’s a chance that you guys knocked up and didn’t do what you were supposed to do and that these people are upset with you.

You just gotta own it and see what you can do to rectify the situation tell them, “what can I do to fix this?”

Most people think that you just want them to remove the review so don’t come to them asking to remove the review. If you handle it properly the review will be removed, and that’s what matters.

I’ve seen hundreds of times that somebody switches the review from 1 or 2-star to 3-4 or even 5-star just based on the way that you handle it.

3. Show the Public that you Cared

You wanna make sure that if somebody doesn’t remove the review, you publicly handle it.

The first step is always to address this privately.

You don’t want to end up in screaming match with any customer, but you don’t wanna do this in front of people whether it’s online or in your office. So, always take them to a quiet room or do it offline. If you’ve taken the 1st and 2nd steps and you think that there is no better way to handle it and If you can’t get it fixed by responding privately and there is no way that it’s gonna get resolved?

The next step is that you are going to put a public comment because a lot of people are going to find this review and if it’s left unresponded to, it just looks like you don’t care.

If you’re on Facebook, like what I said earlier have them direct message you. If you’re on Google have them email you or call them directly. Put something professional like:

“We did try to reach out to you, and we apologize for the experience that you had”

Show that you are taking responsibility and ownership even if it’s not necessarily your fault. Apologize that they had a bad experience and that you don’t want anyone to have a bad experience in your business. Finally, don’t dwell on that review. Just expect that they’re going to show up and focus on getting good reviews.

If you are like me as I was growing up, my dad always says:

your name is your reputation and the way that you handle negative feedback is how people are gonna see you.

People don’t wanna see a flawless company, but the ones with blemishes who care about the experience they give to them.

Don’t get too carried away because a bad review is not going to destroy your business online, but if you get too many bad reviews, it could start to destroy your business especially if you don’t have too many positive ones in there.

Take it professionally NOT personally and so my call to action for you is to focus on getting more reviews and earn your reputation back.

Learn more about Reputation Management from our previous post – The biggest mistake people could be making online

If you need help or have any questions we can always help. Please feel free to reach out to me at and we’ll create a customized game plan for your business.

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