What to do if you get a bad review

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You put your heart, soul, and almost every waking moment into your biz (either working on it or thinking about it). And it takes time away from your family. 

So a bad review cuts deep, hurts your heart, and knocks your confidence. 

After 12+ years in PR & Strategic Communications I’ve seen clients weather some pretty gnarly circumstances but remember, the cream rises to the top, so lift your eyes, raise your head, and take these steps (read this even if you haven’t gotten a bad review – we’re all human and mistakes happen! Or hop over to the Facebook group to watch the video). 

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, just follow these steps

Here’s what to do if you get a negative review on Facebook, Google, or Yelp:

1) Respond (always stay humble & kind)

No matter what actually happened, no matter whose fault it is, and no matter how rude a client or customer may be, you need to respond. But respond in love, humbly, and even apologetically. No matter where the fault lies (yes, it’s worth repeating). 

Our first goal is to try to make it better with that client or customer. But even if you know that you aren’t going to be able to make it right, potential customers and clients and followers of yours who are going to see that review. 

They’re also going to see how that person treated you. And they’re going to see how you respond. So aside from making it right with the person who’s upset, the other goal here is to show people your heart and the situation by responding objectively and with warmth.

2) Tell your story (but make it brief)

This is an opportunity for you to tell your side of the story, but make it brief. There’s a good chance you’ve had a few conversations privately with someone before they post publically (not always, but most of the time) but your response can paint a brief picture of what happened for anybody who happens upon the review. 

There was a reason why the product or service wasn’t delivered, it might not even be a good reason. Someone got sick, the person didn’t confirm their order, there was a mail strike, or whatever happened, painting a brief picture of the scenario lets people who were not privy to that conversation know there’s more to the story.

But this isn’t a long sob story. If you didn’t deliver, you didn’t deliver and that’s the bottom line. There are always three sides of this story; this side, that side and the truth somewhere in the middle. We know that as consumers, as we read a review, there’s probably more to the story. But this gives you a chance to give your perspective. Again, do it humbly, apologetically, and with love, no matter how you feel on the inside, we’re adults. We still have control of our behavior, and we should respond and behave like adults. 

Most of us are representing Christ in our business, whether we serve a Christian or secular audience. Christ weaves His thread through our business and so we really need to behave like that even when we make a mistake.

3) End on a positive note

Always end your response on a positive note. Something like, I wish you all the best, or I wish your business all the success in the world, or hope to see you soon, or something similar. 

4) That’s a wrap! 

No matter what happens next, or how the person responds, we’re not going to respond any further. We wanted to make it right, we’ve done what we can. We want to show our side of the story, and our hearts to future potential clients so that they see we’re trying to make a situation better, and that when something goes wrong, we’re present and try to rectify it. 

It’s possible that you’ll receive another negative response but that’s ok. You’ve already briefly explained the situation, tried to make it right, and ended your response positively. There’s nothing more that you can do. 

If the person continues to respond negatively, then that showcases their behavior, not yours. So just leave it. 

Friend, don’t worry! A less-than-stellar review is bound to happen eventually because we’re all human. Things go wrong but it’s how you rectify things when they go wrong that really shows who you are as a person, and what kind of company you run. 

A client of mine received one negative review among 22 others. But it was one of the more recent ones, so it was really prominent. She went through the steps above, wrote a beautiful note that gave both her and the client closure and peace of mind AND she still has a 4.8 out of five star rating (in fact, a recent study has shown that consumers are more likely to believe a review when it isn’t a full 5 starts,  but has the decimal point in it).