Hey, we’ve all been there.

Someone comes into your business. They might be having a bad day, one of your staff says something they take the wrong way, maybe their oil change took an extra 5 minutes, or they didn’t like the temperature of the soup.

They take to the power of Yelp to voice their opinion and make it their life’s mission to let everyone in the universe know what a terrible business you run and how you don’t care about your customers. You should be tarred and feathered and shut down immediately.

If you’ve ever gotten a negative review, you’re not alone. It happens to ALL of us.

And is it really a bad thing? To have one or two negative reviews among other hundreds of 4 and 5-star reviews about you?

A negative review can actually help your business. It can give you credibility and show your human, caring side if it’s handled properly. That is the key here, knowing how to handle a negative review. And please, don’t misinterpret this comment and email me asking, “Michael are you telling us to get a 1-star review for our business?” Just to be very clear that’s not what I’m saying.

What I’m saying is that, at some point, if you own a business with customers or clients it will eventually happen.

Don’t panic. Have a plan and act on it.

Here is the plan that we use answering reviews for our clients at DFY Review Manager:

  1. Answer the negative review within 72 hours.
  2. Personalize your response using their name if they provide it.
  3. Thank them for responding.
  4. Address their concerns specifically.
  5. Be empathetic.
  6. Ask them for a second chance to make it right.
  7. Take it off-line if necessary.
  8. If needed, share with your team and make corrections.
  9. If you are answering these yourself, have someone else read it first, and never get into an online battle with a customer. You won’t win – trust me on this one.

Look on the positive side of a negative review. Most negative reviews provide valuable insight into identifying an area of your business that might need improvement. A credible negative review is a lot cheaper than hiring a secret shopper company for your business.

On top of that, bad reviews make you look real. If you approach a negative review as an opportunity to turn an unsatisfied customer into a raving fan, you will have a much easier time with it.

Good luck, and keep striving for those 5 Stars!