Earning reviews for your business can help you gain attention and develop a reputation for your brand. If you offer the best services possible, this can help you satisfy your clients to form positive opinions of your business. 

But what happens when you receive negative reviews? Don’t sweat; they’re bound to happen. In fact, poor reviews can be a great learning opportunity, and if you respond to them well, you can reduce their impact on your business. 

This guide covers how to deal with bad customer reviews, including:

  • Responding quickly
  • Acknowledging their experience 
  • Claiming accountability
  • Apologising and thanking the customer
  • Offering another form of communication
  • Suggesting a solution

See also: How to get online reviews for your business

Why it’s important to deal with bad customer reviews 

As you develop more business reviews on platforms like Google Reviews, you can build a memorable brand that reaches your target audience. 

Nearly 70% of customers check reviews before making a purchasing decision. Feedback helps people learn more about your business from the perspective of customers. 

You may worry that negative reviews will lose you sales opportunities. But, if you respond to them appropriately, it’ll show people that you listen to customers and aim to improve

Plus, dealing with bad reviews with a positive attitude can help you protect your reputation. When people read the review, they’ll notice you took those comments seriously. As a result, they might look more highly on your business.

How to deal with bad customer reviews for your business

Bad reviews might feel like an insult, but don’t let them get you down. Let’s go over how to deal with bad customer reviews in six easy steps.

Step 1: Responding quickly

So, you’ve noticed someone left a negative review for your business. The first thing to do is respond to the customer. Doing this proves you notice their comments and take them under consideration

Leaving bad reviews untouched can suggest that you don’t take the time to understand mishaps or weaknesses. Plus, it might demonstrate that you don’t check reviews or actively try to improve your business. 

Step 2: Acknowledging the reviewer’s experience

As you respond to the poor customer review, acknowledge their feelings and validate their experience. 

Avoid arguing with the comments defensively because that can only escalate the situation. ‘The customer is always right’ is a good motto to keep in mind here. 

Start by reiterating or clarifying their points to make sure you fully understand them

Step 3: Apologising and thanking the customer

Be sure to apologise in your reply and stick to professional and respectful language. Doing so shows that you regret that the customer didn’t feel satisfied. Plus, an apology can prove that you aim to offer the best possible services. 

Then, consider thanking them for their feedback. These comments are helpful to the growth of your business, and the customer took the time to share their experience

Here’s a template you might want to use:

Hi ____, I’m sorry to hear that you _____, but thank you for sharing your experience with me.

Step 4: Claiming accountability for bad reviews 

Another great way to deal with bad customer reviews is by taking accountability for them. Suggesting the customer’s opinion is wrong might indicate that you fail to take criticism into account.

Remember that this review is based on the customer’s perspective and is true for them

Here’s a template you can try: 

At [business name] we try to offer the best services possible so I’m sorry you experienced _______. There’s no excuse for this. 

Step 5: Offering another form of communication

It’s important to get the full details from the customer to learn from it. But, dealing with the customer’s experience entirely on the review platform may make them feel exposed or embarrassed. 

Instead, suggest an alternative form of communication to learn more about the details and deal with it properly.

Try phrasing it like this: 

I’d like to learn more about this encounter/situation. Please reach out to me at [insert email or phone number] if you wish to talk further. 

Step 6: Suggesting a solution to the customer 

Apologies and recognition show that you listen, but finding a solution proves that you act. So, when you correspond with the customer who left a negative review, try to come up with a way to mend the problem or win them back. 

For example, if they were unsatisfied with your products or services, you might offer them a refund. Alternatively, you could provide a discount or voucher for their next purchase and promise improvement

Creating a solution lets customers know that you think of the individual, not just your reputation. It can also help you retain that customer relationship as they may consider doing business with you again. 

How you can build a positive brand reputation with reviews  

Once you know how to deal with bad customer reviews for your small business, you can polish up your reviews page for the better. 

Not only will your unsatisfied customers feel heard and respected, but potential customers will see that you care. Just remember to:

  • Respond to every bad review 
  • Recognise these customers’ experiences 
  • Take responsibility for their negative feedback
  • Offer apologies and thank them for feedback
  • Extend resources and find a solution    

Now you might be wondering, how can I earn more good reviews? We can help with that too! Next, check out our article on how to get positive reviews online

Simplify your small business finances with a clever app 

As you deal with bad reviews to support your reputation, also support your business finances with the right tools. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can focus on growing your business. 

Start your three-month free trial today

Related Resources

Read more