A negative review can ruin your day. But there’s more you can do than just fume about it.
First, take a step back.
Don’t rush to your own defense — even when you’re right. Instead, give yourself some time to process and cool down.
It’s hard not to take it personally, but if you reply too quickly you’re probably not going to show the best side of yourself. Keep in mind that future customers will see the message thread.
Decide whether to respond.
If someone brings up a genuine concern about your work or professionalism, you should respond. But some reviews say more about the reviewer than they do about you.
When someone rants in all caps or calls you names, consider letting it lie. Chances are you won’t be able to make that person happy no matter how hard you try. Getting caught up in an argument will likely do much more damage.
Do your research.
Look into the situation and get all the details you can. If you didn’t interact directly with that customer, sit down with all the employees who did.
You don’t need to blame anyone — you’re just gathering facts, especially any details that the customer didn’t include in the review.
Do this right away so you can respond within a couple of days. It shows the customer you’re paying attention.
Write your reply.
Keep your initial response brief and positive. Thank the customer for their feedback and offer to make it right, even if you don’t feel like you did anything wrong. Don’t be defensive, but do offer context that the customer may not have included.
When it makes sense, offer a genuine apology.
Get to a concrete solution.
Focus on the present. Express that you hear the customer and want to fix things. You can offer a do-over, a credit or another form of compensation.
Avoid a back-and-forth in your reviews section. If you get more than one or two replies deep, take the conversation offline. Typing it out can get much more dramatic than a quick phone call.
Focus on the positive.
If you do get to a resolution, politely ask the customer to update their review.
Then move on. Give the rest of your customers the best service you can. Eventually, their good reviews will outweigh the bad.
Most customers say they don’t mind seeing one or two bad reviews in a sea of 5-star ratings. In fact, a few bad reviews can make customers confident that the good reviews are real.