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How to Respond to Bad Reviews

Well, it finally happened: you Googled your company only to find out that your star rating isn’t as shiny as you thought it would be. There are mixed reviews. There are bad reviews. As a business owner, it’s hard not to see red or feel disappointed when someone has written unsavory characterizations about your company. We feel you! What are the next steps you need to take in order to make your business look better online?

How to Respond to Bad Reviews

Step 1. Respond to the offending review. To better understand the importance of responding and for tips on how to execute, read this.

Step 2. Read our article here about how you can work with different review sites in order to get reviews removed that violate that directory’s user terms and conditions.

Step 3. Finally, reach out via phone, email, or text message. Do your best to actually listen to your customer’s complaints. Try to see things from their perspective. Be empathetic.

Step 4. Find a way to make that customer happy. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but more often than not, a middle ground can be found where you both come out of the conflict feeling like winners. As Hot Chocolate once said, “Every 1’s a winner baby, that’s the truth.” – remember this.

Step 5. If you have been successful at turning your customer’s frown upside down, ask them to change their review!

Steps four and five can be real game-changers for your company!  It may seem obvious to some business owners that reaching out and trying to find a happy solution is what’s best for all parties; however, how to respond to bad reviews can easily be overlooked.  Many owners forget to ask the reviewers to change/update/edit their review so that it reflects the most recent interaction with your business. Some owners may feel uncomfortable making the ask, but this conversation doesn’t need to be a big deal.  Here is a sample script of what that conversation can look like:

Business Owner: Hi Disgruntled Reviewer, I am just calling to make sure that everything went well with the solution that we had both agreed upon. Are you happy with how everything turned out?

Disgruntled Reviewer: Thank you so much for calling! Yes, I really appreciate you reaching out to make things right. We are thrilled with the outcome of your services.

Business Owner: Yay! That makes my day to hear you say that. We really care about our customers and want to make every effort to make sure that everyone feels good when they do business with us.

Disgruntled Reviewer: Thanks for making it right. It means a lot that you listened and took action.

(This is the crux of the ask here:)

Business Owner: We do our best. Again, I’m thrilled that we could put a smile on your face. I have a quick favor that I’d like to ask of you. Reviews mean so much to your business. I know we dropped the ball when you wrote your original review about our company. It would mean a lot to us if you could update your review to reflect your latest experience with our brand. Do you have time to update your review for us?

Disgruntled Reviewer: Of course, I will make sure to do that tonight after I get home.

Business Owner: Great! That would help us out so much. You are the lifeblood of our business and we look forward to seeing you again. Thank you so much for being our customer.

That’s it! How to respond to bad reviews can be a simple ask that makes all the difference! It goes without saying that you can’t ask your reviewers to update their review if you haven’t made an effort to correct the mistakes of the past with them.

Reaching out to your clients can make a huge difference to your online reputation. Potential customers will see that even when you’ve dropped the ball, you are willing to make extra efforts to make things right. The public knows that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. It’s what we do after we fall that can make all the difference, in life and in our online reputations.

If you’re interested in learning more about what WebPunch can do to help you mitigate the damage from bad reviews, reach out to Matt at matt@webpunch.com. We’ll be happy to lend you our insight and expertise. Honestly, when it comes to negative reviews, we’ve seen them all, and we’ve helped our clients respond appropriately and help maintain their online credibility in the eyes of potential customers. Shoot us an email, and let’s get going!


Matt Jones

Matt Jones is a co-founder of WebPunch. When he’s not WebPunching, he is exploring the world, taking photos, creating edible art, or making gains in the gym. The main love and joy of his life though is his little boy Mac, who is his best friend.