How Should You Handle Negative Customer Reviews?

April 14, 2021

By Paul F. Whittler 
At some point in every business owner’s life, a negative customer review will pop up. How should you handle it? The negative review isn’t necessarily all about the possibility you might have done something wrong in that customer’s buying experience. It could simply be a matter of miscommunication by either yourself, your customer, or both. This leads to dissatisfaction on the customer’s perceived or anticipated experience. Whether warranted or not, what you don’t want to do as a business owner is to be combative, defensive, or rude. A business owner should always “take the high ground” when dealing with a difficult customer either in-person or online. You should acknowledge the customer’s argument and allow them to express their frustration or anger. This is especially true when dealing with someone in person. In an online review, it’s basically the same. When you respond to the dissatisfied customer, again, acknowledge their frustration or anger regarding whatever aspect of their recent buying experience made them angry. Then, offer possible solutions to solve the problem. Now, something like a small discount on future purchases may be one solution, however, just offering to invite them back to your business and meeting them face-to-face to apologize and “getting to the heart of the matter” is a great solution as well. The customer feels he/she is being heard! Remember this. Online, everyone is watching you. Your customers, potential customers…and competitors! How you personally handle each negative comment will reflect back on both you and your business. Handle things professionally and with respect, and you will find positive feedback and trust from your online community. In conclusion, it does not matter if the nature of the negative review or complaint is warranted. It is perceived by the customer and thus makes it so. Therefore, as the business owner, your role in this is to listen, acknowledge, and work with the customer to find a positive resolution if possible. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen and that’s okay. But you acted professionally and positively.