How to Respond to Bad Reviews in 7 Easy Steps


Bad reviews do not have to be - all bad. There are ways to use them to not only show the customer who left the review you are listening and are worth another try, but to show other customers why they should consider you. Here are the 7 easy steps on how to handle a bad review.

1. Avoid Getting Bad Reviews in the First Place

Yes, there is a way to avoid getting a bad review! Do you have your customers email, phone number or cell phone number? Contact them immediately after their experience with you to personally ask if everything went ok with their stay, meal, tour etc. This gives you the opportunity to learn what customers love about you and what you could improve in the future. It also gives you the chance to privately resolve any issues or concerns your customers might have.

The extra personal touch can go a long way. It can make happy customers, loyal customers and to make unhappy customers understand that exemplary customer service truly is a core value of your business.

2. Respond

Allowing a bad review to go without responding is not only admitting failure but appearing as if you accept it – or even worse – aren’t bothered by it. Always respond to all negative reviews as quickly as possible.

3. Admit to and Explain How You Missed the Mark  

Some customers will never be pleased but most may have a reasonable concern. Admitting wrong doing, why it happened and how you will prevent it from happening again goes a long way. It shows the customer who wrote it and all others who read it you are engaged, interested and always working to do better.

4. Consider Clever, Human Ways to Respond

Just because a review is left on Yelp or TripAdvisor does not mean that is the only place you can respond to it. Consider the clever response of Seastar Seafood Restaurant on YouTube. This video not only shows they are listening and concerned, but puts a human face on the brand.



5. Highlight the Positive

Not all reviews are - all negative. Often, they contain comments about what the customer enjoyed. Don’t forget to thank them and mention the specifics about what they liked. This helps the customer realize all was not awful. It also helps highlight to other customers some of the many benefits and nice touches of working with your business.

6. Don’t Hesitate to Give Another Perspective to the Story

Know that a customer’s perspective is not the only perspective. Acknowledging how you understand their view can help heal the situation but so does explaining your perspective on the experience.

It is important to be empathetic, compassionate, professional and kind. It is also important to share your thoughts on a situation. This helps this customer and all other customers who read it understand yes, you are listening - and yes there might be more to the story than initially meets the eye.

7. Fix It (But Not Necessarily with Financial Compensation)

There are a lot of ways to fix an issue and have customers feel like they have been heard. Don’t forget that even though we are using modern technology old school communication is extremely effective. In your response ask if you could meet in person to talk or have a chat on the phone or over Skype. The keyboard is an easy place to hide behind but conversations can do a lot to ease tensions and retain customers.

Need help marketing, getting and managing reviews. Get in touch with us at Touristy, your travel marketing agency.


Meredith Cook