Negative Reviews and How to Handle Them


Most industries today have some form of customer based assessment system that allows them to give feedback on the establishment’s service and products.  Most consumers today are looking for the best bang for their buck and review sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, Foursquare and even Facebook can either boost or seriously damage your reputation.

As a business owner you’ve probably gotten bad reviews before, but some things are just out of your hands, we’ve all had that crazy customer who insisted on making ridiculous additions to your carefully created dishes.

So how should you handle poor online reviews on your establishment?

These tips below should be your first response when receiving a bad review online, they can help you leverage your way into turning a negative experience into a positive influence for your small business.

What To Do When You Receive a Negative Online Review

Remain Calm

Your first reaction when receiving an online review may be to pick up the screen and shake it vigorously, and if that doesn’t change it you’re looking around at who to fire.  No.  If the review has stirred your emotions to that extent, step back and restore your state of mind before making any response.


Respond Diplomatically

Everything you write online can and will be read by countless people on a daily basis, you want everything you say to sound professional and civil.  Service companies should remember that the customer is always right, if you must point out a situation where the customer has made a mistake do so lightly in a way that leaves them the least responsibility.

Acknowledge the Issue Addressed and Apologize

Just like a good business owner would in real life, you accept that a mistake had been made and apologize for it sincerely.  It is important side with the customer and empathize for their situation, you must be authentic and personal and not like you are reading off the list of 100 best apologies.

You can choose to respond privately if you disagree with the reviewer’s point of view, respond publicly if your response will help demonstrate to other consumers that you are addressing the problem.


Ask For Input and Offer a Solution

If its a reoccurring problem that you’ve been working on, ask your customers for the way they’d like to see it done, it gives your consumer to give you feedback directed at the problem at hand.  However in certain situations it can look unprofessional and naive.

Always offer a solution, this wraps everything up especially when an apology is just not enough.  It could be a gift card or a free meal or replacement, whatever it is it should address the problem in someway or at least leave the customer feeling like they’ve been heard and satisfied.