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From the Trenches - What To Do About A Bad Review

What To Do About A Bad Review

We’ve all talked about bad reviews and what to do about them. The consensus is that you answer them in a constructive way that shows others that you are concerned about an unhappy customer.

Asking that customer to contact you shows you are ready to try and find a solution to the customer’s problem. Even if you can’t resolve it, people know that some customers have unrealistic expectations and will credit you for trying.

But what if the bad review is about you personally? The customer has mentioned your name in a disreputable way. How should you react to maintain your dignity and reputation?

It’s a bit bruising to see your name associated with words like sleazy, dishonest, liar, or worse. A natural instinct makes us want to lash out, discredit the customer, and defend our reputation. We can feel anger, hurt, outrage and want to put those feelings into writing as a response to the customer.

This, unfortunately, is counter-productive. We give credence to the claims if we are equally abusive to the customer who criticized us. I suggest the following:

1. Review the events in your mind. Did you do anything that may have given that customer a reason to believe the claims? Was it a misunderstanding? Or was the customer simply unreasonable in his expectations? Be honest with yourself.
2. If you did anything to create the situation or if there was simply a misunderstanding, apologize to the customer and ask for the opportunity to correct the situation.
3. If the customer had unreasonable expectations, simply apologize that you were unable to meet their expectations and state that there will always be times when people can’t agree.

It is human nature to react to unjust accusations with retribution, but by reacting politely and with sensitivity, you make yourself the more reasonable person in other’s eyes as they read the review and response. Take a deep breath and, don’t count to 10, count to 100.

Understand that dignity is self-evident and does not require a tit-for-tat response. Others can see that for themselves and will actually come to your defense. In fact by reacting without retribution… reacting with dignity, you may even get an apology from the accuser.

Views: 1225

Tags: Online, customer, management, media, relationship, reputation, reviews, social


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Comment by Tom Gorham on October 28, 2011 at 6:22am
Thanks Jason, I believe it's the anonymity that many people enjoy when going to write an honest review of a company that may be less than fattering.  Unfortunately, that same anonymity makes abuse a possibility.  But the fact is that customers are using these review sites and taking them to heart.  Certainly the review sites have a responsibility to tighten their controls to be fair, but do they have the incentive to do so?  I think businesses have no choice as to which sites they consider legitimate; they will follow the consumers wherever they go.  Our options can never be to ignore them.  We must manage them as best we can.
Comment by Jason Manning on October 27, 2011 at 9:09pm
Rating and Review sites have a long way to go (Including Yelp, Google, etc).  Before the rating goes up, the names used should be changed to Initials Only or First Name/Last Initial or First Initial/Last Name (and you shouldn't have to pay a "club fee" to get that kind of respect).  When a complaint is made to the BBB, the complaint is reviewed precisely.  This shotgun approach that "people" and review sites have "invented" will have to be tailored a whole lot before any legitimate weight is given.  Ultimately it is a business rating, not a personal slam.  This type of business is still wide open to proper execution IMO.  When it is finally dialed in, businesses and consumers will gravitate to the most legitimate site.  It's been a whole lot of marketing so far.
Comment by Tom Gorham on October 27, 2011 at 4:53pm

Wow Ryan!  What a response. I would say that person just gave a very low grade to their dealership in the eyes of consumers that read it.  I agree with you 100% that, "Always remember that the response you write is intended for the unsold prospect that will eventually read it, not necessarily for the crazy person you are responding to."

Do you think that responder below really understood his response was going to read by so many potential customers?

Comment by Ryan Leslie on October 27, 2011 at 12:06pm

Great Insight Tom.


Those are the toughest ones to handle. I think a great piece of advice is to remember that you can win a battle and lose a war with public responses. Always remember that the response you write is intended for the unsold prospect that will eventually read it, not necessarily for the crazy person you are responding to.


Here is a great "what NOT to do" public response on DealerRater:

Added: 8/30/2011 11:08:48 AM
Where did you learn your grammar skills? Overall, we couldn't make a deal with you because of $300.00 difference between your $14,700.00 and our $15,000.00. Does this make us a bad dealership (by the way, this is the correct spelling, NOT DLR SHIP, you moron...)? But I guess wrting bad reviews is your constitutional right, just like living your life in total ignorance. Goodbye and good luck. Oh, and if you need grammar lessons, we can recommend several places where they teach English as second language, you illiterate nincompoop.

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