You’re a small business owner going about your day, doing your very best to provide excellent service, and a great product to your community. Then you get a notification: a Google or Yelp review notification. You open up the email and then BANG! A 1 star review. Immediately your stomach sinks and your day has emotionally changed. How could this happen? You are busting your butt and enraged! Suddenly you feel like your day is ruined.
Here’s what to do next when responding to a bad review on Yelp or a bad review Google .
Your business is personal, but now is the moment to remove the idea of “personal” and take action. First and foremost ask yourself a few questions to qualify the review:
How to qualify bad reviews on Yelp or Google Business page
Is the review meant for your business or did the reviewer accidentally review another business?
Many times reviews get accidentally written for a business when they are meant for another business. Review the names and facts of the review, if they don’t match your business flag the review.
Is the review part of a negative competitor spam campaign?
A massive spam campaign that has infected Google Business Pages. Online robots are actively creating false reviews to gradually lower competing business ratings with 3-4 star reviews. Use Google to search part of the text in the review by choosing a sentence and searching for it with quotes surrounding it, does the review show up somewhere else? If so, flag the review and cite the evidence of the same review text showing up somewhere else.
Is the review truthful?
Sometimes the truth hurts and while the review might feel mean spirited, maybe there is a bit of truth in the review that needs to be addressed. Your friends are most likely not going to tell you if your food has room for improvement or if your store looks sloppy. Maybe this negative review is the wake up call you needed. It might be a good idea to start consulting with people outside your immediate circle of friends. Or maybe have friends go in as secret shoppers and report on the customer service. Be willing to pay people to give you honest feedback.
Now let’s write the response to the review! First keep in mind that a bad review isn’t always the end of the world…lots of bad reviews might be…but a few bad reviews are not. Responding to the bad review is an opportunity to publicly show that you care, that you are human, that you have humility, and that you are willing to correct or improve any and all issues to the best of your ability. Remember this response is not just being shown to the reviewer, it’s being shown to everybody on the internet interested in your business.
Example template of how to respond to a bad review
Here are a set of steps to follow when responding to a negative or bad yelp review or a bag google business page reivew.
Total Time: 10 minutes
Thank the reviewer for the review and for taking the time to give feedback.
Use the reviewer’s name and personally thank the reviewer for taking the time to give feed back. DO NOT use a general boiler plate copy and paste response, use the person’s name so that the reviewer and everybody else knows that you care about your quality of your product and experience.
Express your desire to constantly evolve and improve the product, service or whatever it is that you do.
Talk a little bit about why the excellence of your business is important. Make it brief.
Re-state the problem that the reviewer brought up.
Restating the problem once again shows the reviewer and everybody else reading this that the issue is important to you.
Acknowledge and address the issue
Be willing to say you were wrong if you were wrong or if is simply confusion, be willing to be wrong about the confusion.
State one possible solution on how you can fix the problem.
Offer some solutions of what could have been done better by you or your employees and how you will rectify the situation.
Thank the reviewer once again for taking the time to give feedback.
Be as gracious as possible, and thank the reviewer once again and say that you appreciate feedback because it helps you be better. Also keep in mind…if one person gave you the review there might be 50 other people that didn’t review you and will simply never return to your business and 10 friends directly how shitty your business was. Do not for a second think that just because one reviewer brought up and issue that he/she was the only one.
Offer “amends” to the reviewer.
For example, if it was a bad dessert review, suggest the reviewer come back and ask for you, and offer 2 free desserts to make up for the problem and to show the reviewer how the issue was resolved. Sometimes doing this can even get the reviewer to update the review to a positive review.
In summary, a bad review is not the end of the world. With a little bit of work, a bad review can be an opportunity to show the world that your business is personal and that you care.
Note: thats a photo of the talented documentary filmmaker Taji Ameen, he has a HILARIOUSLY uncomfortable show on Vice called one star reviews. If you haven’t seen it, check it out directly on the Vice website or on Vice Youtube list with all episodes located here on youtube.