Drunk, shoeless reviewers (How NOT to respond to negative reviews)

Handling negative reviews with tact and professionalism is an effective way to show that you care about customer feedback and have great customer service. But sometimes owner responses can lack… um… “thoughtfulness” and make matters worse. In this series – “How NOT to respond to negative reviews” – we look at some choice replies and walk you through how to deal with difficult reviews.

The Case of the Drunk, Shoeless Reviewer

Let’s breakdown this review and point out what the business could have done better so that you don’t make the same mistake.

What Not to Do

  • Don’t use poor grammar and misspell. “Unrealised”? Using poor grammar and misspelling words can make your company look mismanaged and careless. Taking the time to make sure your statement is free of errors is a simple thing you can do to appear professional.
  • Don’t name call or insult the reviewer. No matter how bad the situation, you should never insult a customer, i.e. call him or her a “drunk liar”. Not only could it further aggravate the reviewer and prompt him to take further action, but it makes you look bad to others reading the review.
  • Don’t accuse. Along the lines of name-calling, once you accuse you have entered a dangerous territory. You can state the facts: “You lost your shoes but then you found them”. But attacking someone’s character or intentions may provoke a reaction or raise concerns about your professionalism.

What to Do

  • Respond quickly but not haphazardly. Responding to negative feedback quickly is essential, but only if your response is well thought out and appropriate. Sometimes “haste makes waste”, so taking a few minutes to calm down will give you the time you need to craft a polite and concise response.
  • Be polite, even when you’re right. If you are not at fault, simply state the facts. You have the right to let the truth be known, but you need to be diplomatic and not give the reviewer a reason to keep the fight going, which leads to the next point…
  • Go offline. As you know, some people love to take their frustrations out online. As a business, you don’t want to fuel that fire. Taking the conversation offline by giving the reviewer a way to contact you directly allows you to end the online discussion organically.

Unfortunately, some people may not want a solution; they just want to complain and maybe get a reaction. When you have a negative review such as this, you still need to remain calm and not get into a blame game. Showing patience, insight, and sincerity is good business practice, if not to appeal to the reviewer but to demonstrate to prospective customers that you are a professional organization.

If you’d like more information, check out the comprehensive, step-by-step guide for responding negative reviews.

1 Star Human (How NOT to respond to negative reviews)

Handling negative reviews with tact and professionalism is an effective way to show customers & prospects that you care about their feedback and have great customer service. Buuut sometimes owner responses can lack the sensitivity and thoughtfulness and create the opposite effect. In this new series – “How NOT to respond to negative reviews” – we’ll take a look at some replies that missed the mark and walk you through the dos and don’ts of dealing with troublesome reviews.

The Case of the 1 Star Human

Ok… there’s a lot to unpack here. Let’s break it down:

  • Don’t respond to negativity with negativity. While it may seem like an obvious tip, refrain from labeling and name-calling. Referring to a dissatisfied customer as an idiot, a shame, or *sigh* an “evil weak coward” will not only antagonize that individual; it also plants a big, bright red flag for curious would-be patrons checking out your business. As nasty as a review like this is, you can express regret that his experience did not reflect the values put forth by you and your team and do it without resorting to name-calling.
  • Take a moment to calm down. Timeliness is crucial when it comes to addressing customer complaints, but you need a level-head before replying. If you can’t write a response that conveys a sense of respect and politeness (or you use the phrase “1 STAR HUMAN”), you’ve got some editing to do. If possible, pull in someone who is not as emotionally vested to help you compose the reply.
  • Address accusations of racism seriously. An accusation of racism should not be taken lightly even if you know it’s unfounded because the accusation plants the possibility in the mind of prospective customers. Assure everyone, firmly and clearly, of your objection to such discriminatory behavior in any capacity. And of course, you do want to verify that you and your employees are not being unintentionally or intentionally racist. If upon gathering more information you do find your company at fault, fix the problem. Like all reviews, take the matter as an opportunity to get better.

Let’s be honest: negative reviews can be infuriating when they are worded this harshly and severely. But a poor response can make the situation worse. Consider these tips the next time you feel unsure of how to respond and check out this guide that walks you through how to handle different scenarios. Your ratings (and stress-levels) will thank you.