How to Deal With a Bad Online Review

If you have an online business, eventually, it’s bound to happen – you get a bad online review. Sure, a bad online review can ruin your day, but it’s not the end of the world, or more specifically, it’s not the end of your business. If you treat a bad review as an opportunity to learn more about your customers and how they perceive your business, you can turn a negative experience into a positive one.

When dealing with a bad review, there are several things to keep in mind. First, the internet is a land of extremes, not moderation. There are very few three-star reviews. People usually write positive reviews or negative reviews, and they tend to use extreme language when doing so. Secondly, people are more likely to write a review if they are unhappy, so one negative review is not representative of how the majority of your customers feel about your company. Nevertheless, you must deal with a negative review promptly if you wish to maintain control of your online reputation. Here are the steps to take to respond to a bad review.


Even if you didn’t do what the customer said you did, apologise for the incident. Apologise sincerely and tell your customer that you are sorry that they feel the way they do. Empathise with the customer and indicate that you understand how they feel. Promise you’ll look into the problem and get back with them shortly. Don’t tell your customer you’ll “try” to resolve the problem – that’s not what your customer wants to hear. Your customer is unhappy and wants to resolve the problem, not just try to do so.

Be honest with yourself

You’re probably angry because of the bad review, but don’t let anger cloud your judgement. Be honest with yourself as you investigate the incident and if your company’s actions caused the problem, take responsibility for it. Taking responsibility will help you craft a credible response to your unhappy customer and help you avoid causing the same problem in the future.

Resolve the problem quickly

After you’ve investigated the problem, get back to the customer promptly to resolve it. If possible, develop a dialogue with your customer offline via email, as dealing with a problem offline can help diffuse anger and lead to a constructive resolution. Listen to what your customer is telling you. Ask your customer what you can do to make things right, Your customer will appreciate that you asked for their input, and accept their solution if it is reasonable. A frank dialogue can lead to a mutually agreeable solution and can turn an unhappy customer into a happy one.

Diagnose the cause of the problem

Once you’ve resolved the problem with your customer, spend some time diagnosing what caused it. Your objective here is not to assign blame to someone but to understand why the problem occurred so you can take corrective action so that it won’t happen again.

If you handle it correctly, a bad review can help you improve user experience.

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