Who loses when you ignore a bad review?

It’s inevitable. No matter what you do or how hard you try, someone, somewhere, for some reason won’t like you.

It was a hard lesson to learn when I was a 6-year-old on the playground and it’s arguably an even harder lesson when you’re a business owner or marketing manager reading a digital review posted for the world to see. And sometimes, these reviews aren’t even by someone you’ve done business with.

Yes, it’s a frustrating problem to have to deal with. But these “Full House” gifs make it a more palatable pill to swallow, no?

In all seriousness, whether it’s a competitor working to lower your business rating or an actual disgruntled client/customer — whether or not their feelings and review are valid — responding to each and every one is crucial to maintain control over your web presence. Otherwise, one negative post can quickly generate likes on Facebook, response comments, and more, which can make the complicated “most helpful” algorithm decide to show the review you want buried at the top of the page instead.

Even though it can feel like forces are intentionally conspiring against you, if you follow these simple tips, your business will thank you.

1. Remember: the sooner, the better. Making an upset reviewer wait a week — or even more than a day  for a response is not the way to turn a negative post into a positive experience. Ideally, the more quickly you can react, the more it appears that you care. And, if the review is fake, reporting it to the platform quickly means fewer eyes will see it before it’s taken down.

I’ve personally had great luck getting fake reviews removed from Facebook less than 12 hours from the time I reported them. Unfortunately, other platforms aside from Facebook are often much more difficult to work with, in my experience.

2. Apologize. When all else fails, apologize for the experience. This way, whether the review is fake, you disagree with it, or it simply is a real problem a reviewer faced, it’s immediately clear that you take the complaint seriously. “I’m sorry you had this experience” doesn’t implicate your business, but allows you to still empathize with the reviewer and invite them to take the conversation offline.

I once responded to a frustrated, one-star reviewer who had accidentally reviewed the wrong page on behalf of the business for whom I was running social media. Even though the business clearly wasn’t at fault because it was the wrong one, I responded by not only politely correcting her, but apologizing for the fact that she had the experience and invited her to try Crash’s client’s similar services in the future for a better result. Because of that, she took the review off the incorrect page (ours) quickly and instead put it on the correct business (our competitor)’s Facebook.

3. Don’t just respond to the haters. If your happy customers took the time to find you just to tell you how great you are, why on Earth wouldn’t you thank them for it? SO MANY businesses only respond to the negative, which is enormously inconsiderate to all the people who took the time to give you the free publicity you received when they left you that five-star review. Plus, the more engagement a positive post like that gets, the more potential it has to be seen by others! You would never ignore a compliment in real life, so why are you doing it online?

4. Be honest. Was that customer exceptionally rude? Is there more to the story than meets the eye? In extreme circumstances, I’ve found the best course of action is honesty. You are absolutely allowed to tactfully share your side. I try to stick with something along the lines of:

  • We regret you had this experience
  • Point out that they took creative liberties or were untrue (but avoid pointing fingers)
  • Summarize by saying how much you value all your customers/clients who make your business possible

Then, on platforms like Facebook, you can hide further comments from the public to avoid a bandwagon-style negative response from others.

At the same time, if your employee messed up? Say that. Offer a service or consolation to attempt to win back their business. Then simply do better next time.

Oftentimes, it all just comes down to real human interaction, even though it’s online. But if you have any other questions or need help with your own business’ web presence, let us know how Crash Creative can help.

After all …