What To Do With A Bad Review

What To Do With A Bad Review

There is no such thing as a business that doesn’t get a bad review from time to time.

No matter how effectively you’ve trained your staff, and what policies you’ve put in place, there’s always that one customer…

So, what happens when you get a bad review? What’s the best thing for you to do?

Should you ignore it and hope no one ever reads it, or finds out about it? We think that most of the time, it can be turned into a positive.

What You Shouldn’t Do

What you don’t do is probably more important than what you actually do.

The most important thing of all is to not let emotion get in your way.  Making a rash, emotionally charged response will likely make matters worse!

Take a break.  Leave it alone for a couple of days if that’s what it takes, but approach it rationally.

No matter what they’ve said or how untrue it is, don’t respond with anger.

If it’s severe, and something that has to be dealt with quickly for the sake of your reputation, contact a lawyer.

Don’t Deny

A denial of the problem makes it look like you are dismissing their claim outright.

Paraphrased, it’s like someone is saying, “The floors were slippery” to which you seem to reply, “You’re an idiot.”

What Should You Do?

No matter what the problem is, if there’s a negative review, respond to that review.

Always remember that your response will tell people more about you and the way you do business than the home page of your website!

Handled properly, you have a chance to mitigate or eliminate the damage that review will do.


The first step? Acknowledge the problem.  Even if you don’t agree, or even if it’s the perception on the part of the reviewer.

For example, “There’s no question that the weather was bad that day.” or, “We know that our tour can be frightening to people.”  Start with an acknowledgement.

Then, offer a sincere apology.  It shouldn’t be difficult to be sincere, since I’m certain you would be happy if every single customer you encounter was elated with your business.

Assess The Actual Problem

Is the problem that the reviewer is being unfair?  Is it a legitimate complaint?

If the reviewer is being unfair, then you have to point that out without saying, “That’s completely unfair!”

Again, using the weather as an example, you have to say something like, “We realize that inclement weather can sometimes make our tour colder than is comfortable for some of our guests.”

State Your Case

The problem is either something you knew might happen, or something of a surprise.  If it’s something you anticipated, and turned out to be a problem anyway, you have to say what you did, knowing it could become a problem.

For example, “We train our staff to warn all people that the weather can turn cold.  We also post that warning on our website.”

It’s like you are saying that you knew it would be a problem from time to time, but you took steps to reduce or eliminate any potential problem you knew about in advance.

If it’s something that comes as a surprise, then describe how you have taken steps to prevent that from happening again.

Insulate Your Business With Good Reviews

If you have three reviews in total, and one of them is a bad review, then it carries a lot of weight and is really going to hurt your business.

If you have thee hundred reviews in total and one of them is a bad review, then it’s not going to be nearly as damaging.

Create a policy to ask for reviews from your customers. Not everyone you ask will give you a glowing review, but you’ll get a lot more by asking than by not asking.

End With an Offer

Don’t be afraid to make an offer to the reveiwer.  Not everyone!  You don’t want the irrational customers to return.  Also, it doens’t have to be a discount.  You don’t want to encourage people to give you a poor review.

If it’s a legitimate complaint, and warranted, ask for a second chance to earn their business.  If that happens, do everything you can to make sure it goes well this time!