3 Steps to Dealing with Bad Reviews

Do you get bad reviews? It's time we fix it.
Do you get bad reviews? It’s time we fix it.

Bad reviews can feel like a death sentence to our business. Fortunately, there are ways to use bad reviews to improve our business and actually get us more clients or customers! Follow these three simple steps and you’ll be turning bad reviews into new business in no time.


1.     Make Sure They’re Bad Reviews, Not Wrong Ones          

The first thing we should do with bad reviews is to ensure that they’re valid. The last thing we want to do is to get bad reviews from someone who never purchased our product and is just trying to troll us, someone who accidentally reviewed the wrong business (It happens….) or some other invalid reason.

 Consider what the customer has said in their review. Does it coincide with your business? If you get bad reviews saying that the product’s lights didn’t come on, and you sell paper plates, maybe that review can be considered invalid and you need to talk with the customer and tell them they reviewed the wrong company (or maybe they were high, we can’t know).

Bad reviews that are very common are something along the lines of ‘the product was broken’ upon arrival. If you’re selling fragile products, you’ve probably already gotten this at least once. If you get reviews like this, can you ask for pictures? Basically, is there some way you can prove it?

Oh. Yeah, if your product looks like this upon arrival, you should expect bad reviews.
Oh. Yeah, if your product looks like this upon arrival, you should expect bad reviews.

When you’re getting validation for any bad reviews, you must be careful. (This is where the copywriting kicks in, so pay attention if you haven’t been.) You don’t want to be assuming. When someone leaves bad reviews, they’re already piping mad. They hate you, your business and your product (probably.) So, if you come at them pointing fingers and calling them a liar, you’re not going to see the results you want. Instead, apply the principles of writing copy and treat bad reviews as benefits.

The benefit that you’re selling is that the person who left the bad review will be able to help your business. People love helping. So ask for validation and treat that as an opportunity to help your business.
“Hello! I saw your review and I hate that the product was broken when it arrived. Could you send a photo so that I can examine my shipping procedures for the future?”

You instantly validate the claim and don’t piss the reviewer off anymore. Now that we’ve got validation, we figure out what to do with it. Here’s some other pretty good methods to help rat-out fake reviews. This site is talking more about fake reviews a customer, but you can definitely see how they apply to fake bad reviews that are just trolls trying to get free items from you.

2.     Was The Bad Review Your Fault? Can you Improve?

Now we know we’re dealing with a bad review that’s completely valid. The customer bought our stuff and isn’t happy with what they got. Time to fix it.

Bad reviews that are valid happen for one or two reasons. Either the customer sucks or you did something wrong. Bad reviews are the world’s greatest opportunity to grow your business. Sales are king, customers create sales and thus customer feedback loops are invaluable.

Bad reviews give you insight into the purchase probably you wouldn’t have otherwise seen. You get to see someone that went wrong, and everyone knows, you can build on failure.

When we receive bad reviews, it’s important to be as objective as possible. Consider everything that’s in play that lead to bad reviews. Abstract the main problem of the review and then check each part of your funnel for problems.

For example, let’s assume you sell scarves. The customer says the scarf wasn’t the size they were expecting! So, we’re going to go through each part of our funnel and see where the confusion was.

Are our ads clear or misleading? Does our product description clearly explain the size? Are the pictures misleading? Are of our emails misleading to the size? Was it a production problem? Could it have been altered during the shipping process? These are all factors we should consider when dealing with bad reviews.

Let’s be omniscient business owners! Look at our business objectively. Learn from bad reviews and figure out how to make your business better. Or you can kick and pout and cry. But I think we know which approach is best.


3.     Now, How to Deal with The Bad Review

Alright, now we’ve confirmed that the bad review is valid and we’ve figured out why it happened and what we can do to make it better next time. Now we have to buckle up and actually deal with this sucker.


We talked about how to ask for validation and the same rule applies here. We have to make sure we’re not assuming and pointing fingers. We also can’t be too soft, we don’t want to get run all over. Be firm, yet apologetic. Show the customer that you’re sincere about their problems but also that you won’t be taken advantage of. I know, harder than it sounds, but mindset is most important.

Your customer may be looking like this. You may want to respond like this. But settle down and let's help our business out after those bad reviews. A mad customer isn't a repeat customer! 
Your customer may be looking like this. You may want to respond like this. But settle down and let’s help our business out after those bad reviews. A mad customer isn’t a repeat customer! 


Apply your principles of copy. You’ve probably got some perk you’re offering the customer – free shipping on the next order, a coupon, something like that. That’s your benefit. Pound that benefit to them just like you would if you were selling it.


Remember, we want to be sincere with our apology but we want to be firm in our stance. People who leave bad reviews are often looking for some compensation for your product not meeting their standards. Don’t let them overrun you and take advantage of you. Find whatever you’ll be offering them and stick with it. Use copy and sell them on that benefit!


Let’s take our scarf example again. The customer wasn’t happy with the size of the scarf and we confirmed that the bad review was valid. You examined your sales funnel and realized that your product description wasn’t incredibly clear about the size so you fixed it. You decided you’ll let the customer send the scarf back and get a replacement and you’ll also offer 10% off their next purchase. We can word that something like this:

“Hello! I reviewed my business process and realized I could have been a lot clearer in the product description, so I take responsibility for this.

To make it right, I’m going to let you send the scarf back for free and I’ll replace it with a size that fits you better.


In addition, I’m giving you 10% off your next purchase. Just use this coupon code and you’re good to go.


Thank you for the review, you’ve definitely made my business better and I hope you’ll be happy with your new (perfectly sized) scarf.”


See how easy that was? I took responsibility, but I didn’t fall at the customer’s feet. I told them what was going to happen – firm but apologetic. Of course, that was just my own example that I totally made up. Here’s some more examples of business owners dealing with bad reviews.


Some customers are just going to be crazy. Those are the ones you have to accept the review and move on. But for most bad reviews, there’s a way to handle them. If we do it correctly, we can turn bad reviews into invaluable ways to improve our business!


If you’re having trouble crafting up a response to bad reviews, don’t fret. Just let me know and I’ll be sure to help you out. If you found this post useful, make sure you subscribe so you get a lot more great marketing content. Or if you think this post sucks, email me and tell me. I know how to deal with bad reviews 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *