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Responding to Reviews – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Reviews are an extremely important aspect of any business nowadays. Being aware of how one’s business is being perceived by your customers is just one aspect to the review system. A major aspect of the review system is to see what potential customers will see. You want to make sure that your business is being seen in the best light possible. The best way to do this is to take an active approach to the reviews that your business experiences.

The 3 Types of Reviews You Should Expect

When it comes to reviews, you’re going to encounter three main types of reviews. You’re going to have the good reviews, which can range from 3 to 5 stars and will provide some pretty amazing feedback in most cases. Sometimes people won’t say much and that’s okay. You’re going to have bad reviews, which can range from 1 to 3 stars and will also provide some feedback, though not in the flattering kind. That’s okay, it’s useful as well. The last type of review is the ugly review. This review is a land mine that can severely harm you or your business if not handled correctly. Thankfully, these aren’t too common in most cases.

1.      Good Reviews

Young happy businesswoman with tablet computer in officeA good review is pretty easy to handle since there isn’t anything bad there. If you have the option, it is a good idea to make sure to thank reviewers for taking the time to review your business. After all, if they were willing to take the time, so should you. Not only will those customers appreciate it, your potential customers will see that you appreciate their reviews.

Additionally, you may get some good feedback from those good reviews. Maybe you’ll find out that certain products or services garner a lot of positive reviews, which means you should keep those should you decide that later you need to streamline what your business is offering. Perhaps you’ll get other feedback that prevented that 4-star  review from being a solid five-star. Whatever feedback you get from your customers, take it seriously.

It should go without saying, though unfortunately, many businesses don’t understand that you shouldn’t create positive reviews on your own behalf. Real customers should create them, not staff or owners even if they do use the products or services. Most people can identify a fake positive review and that sours people on that business. Sometimes these fake positive reviews may be the work of competition to make it look like you’re padding your good reviews.

2.      Bad Reviews

No one wants a bad review; however, they even happen to the best businesses. Some of these bad reviews are fake and made by competition, people trolling, or some other nefarious person. Most are made by people with real complaints. Regardless of what you may think of the complaint, it is very important to make sure that you take them seriously. Again, your potential customers will see your responses and take that to be how you’ll interact with them; good or bad. Remember to take the time to respond to each bad review, preferably at the expense of the good reviews if you must prioritize.


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Just like the good reviews, you want to make sure that you look at the feedback the bad review is giving you and figure out if and how you can make the necessary adjustments to your business. Sometimes the bad review is due to a bad day on someone’s part, which could be the customer having a bad day and little things set them off. Alternatively, it could have been your customer service that had the bad day and botched things badly for that customer. It could have been a collision of bad days on both sides. We’re human, so it can be expected that you’re not going to have a perfect business interaction with each and every customer, though that is the dream.

3.      Ugly Reviews

Top view of mad irritated young businessman working with computer and shouting  Sometimes, you get customers who just want to vent their frustrations, and there is nothing that you can do to help them. Perhaps they are looking for a fight from you and if you give in, you’re in for a world of hurt. While these are few and far between, thankfully, these are still reviews that you must deal with. These reviews require  much more attention than any of the other reviews, and absolutely should take the highest priority if only because they are so few in number and draw the most attention from potential customers.

One of the worst things that you could do when you come across an ugly review is to respond in kind. There is no reason to lower yourself or your business to the point where you’re insulting a now former customer or shifting blame away from your business. Stay on the high ground by thanking them for their feedback, whatever that may be, and offer an appropriately professional response that accepts responsibility to assist, though not necessarily responsibility of the cause. Essentially, you want to be friendly and diplomatic as well as mature and respectful. How you respond to these reviews say a whole lot about you and your business, so make it good!

What Should You Say to Reviewers?

Every review is going to be a little different, so you’ll have to take this advice and figure out how it applies specifically to that customer. One thing is certain, you should be careful if you plan to use scripted responses. Make sure that they aren’t too generic and that they also have at least a slightly personal touch such as using the person’s name/username and mentioning their specific issue. You also want to be sure that you can accomplish the following advice. If you’re not able to do so, then it’s a good idea to look internally and figure out why. Turning a bad review into a good one should be a high priority when it comes to handling reviews.

The issue exists, and it is yours, so own it.

You absolutely want to make sure that you’re conveying that you value the feedback on the problem. You should apologize for the perceived problems as they are real to the customer. Also, remember that you have an audience of potential customers reading, so address the problem like you have an audience. It’s important that your audience knows that you’re paying attention to problems.

Explain how  you’re making sure the issue doesn’t happen again.

You don’t have to be specific in how you are fixing the problem, but it should be clear that you are fixing the problem. Again, this is for your audience as they need to know that not only do you recognize the problem andare sorry for the problem, but  that you also plan to fix problems so that future customers won’t have the same issues. See this as a chance to market your business to those prospective clients. An attentive business is a successful one.

Offer a solution to the problem for that customer

Provide a solution for that customer to the best of your ability. They may turn it down or not even respond, but at least you’re showing the audience that you’re willing to handle any issues that arise. This shows them that you’re someone they can come to with their problems to resolve them, and they’ll know by now that you’ll fix it so that other people won’t have the same issues. Being open, honest, helpful, and professional will help your business and that includes when interacting with reviews.

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