Before we get into how you deal with them, you have to accept that they do happen and, in some instances, it has nothing to do with you. They hurt financially and emotionally as well. It is the emotional part that is usually a problem when service and products providers decide that they are going to say something to their reviewers. 

Bad reviews do not necessarily mean that you are bad at what you do. Here are five important things to help you see this from a better perspective so you can get started on how responses should be framed and approached:

  • It is possible that your business might not be a good fit for the customer. That’s not a bad thing. You cannot be great for everyone. 
  • If your business is a good fit, their review should be seen as a gift. It is a way to discover weaknesses and fix them.
  • A bad review should be taken as an opportunity to shine. It pushes you to do more by revealing something you may not have seen.
  • The customer could very well be having a bad day and taking it out on you. It’s not fair but, it happens.
  • The customer could be a jerk, plain and simple.

How Do You Respond?

If you thought about having it removed, don’t. That is not the approach you want to take. The bad review is not the problem per se. The real problem is what happened between you and the customer. 

Try empathy, compassion and commitment to see if you can rectify the review. 

Here’s a technique developed for and used by the Walt Disney Company. They host 135 million people in their parks every year and have to deal with angry parents who are feeling the pressure of even angrier kids. 

  • Hear– Let the customer give you their side of the story without interrupting. 
  • Empathize- Let them know you understand. Use words that relate with them “I’d be frustrated as well”
  • Apologize- Make it sincere, even if you feel you are not at fault. 
  • Resolve– Give them solutions or allow them to express what they would like done, to make the issue go away. Ask “what can I do to make this right?”
  • Diagnose- Find out how the problem emerged and fix it at the source so it does not happen again. Do not blame anyone while you do it.

When responding, do it publicly but DO NOT go on the defensive. Do not tell them whey they are wrong. Make your response an apology for how they feel. If you go on the defensive, it just throws fuel on their anger. 

When you get bad reviews, try to drown them out with good ones. If you serve people well, the good reviews will come in and the bad ones will be lost in a flood of support for your business. 

Learn by reading what other successful businesses do and say when responding to customers.