Only One Star? Turning Bad Reviews into Good Customers

By Business.com Editorial Staff
Business.com / Customers / Last Modified: June 21, 2017

Your business's reputation can make or break you.

Your business's reputation can make or break you. Good reviews are a great way to bring in new customers; they let potential customers know that you offer a quality product. Bad reviews, however, can wreak havoc on your small business.  

While you might not agree with every customer complaint, it is still essential to address their concerns promptly and professionally. If handled the right way, a bad review can be a great opportunity to build a positive relationship with a customer.

What Not to Do

As tempting as it may be to bury a review or remove it completely from your Facebook or Google Plus page, do not do this. Do not try to hide from bad reviews or hide them from other readers.

When you completely ignore bad reviews, the message you send customers is that you do not appreciate feedback and will not work on addressing customers' concerns. While it might be difficult to read harsh reviews, most reviewers are trying to offer genuine feedback. Even if you do not like how a review is presented, it is important to treat your customer and his or her feedback with respect.

While it is important to not ignore bad reviews, it is even more important to not inappropriately engage with reviewers. Do not fight with anyone online or try to prove anyone wrong. This only makes you look unprofessional to anyone reading the reviews of your business.

What to Do Instead

Instead of ignoring bad reviews or trying to prove customers wrong, there are some concrete steps you can take to turn bad reviews into loyal customers.

  • First, apologize for the customer's bad experience. When apologizing, do not try to make explanations or excuses. Simply say that you are sorry.
  • Second, try to make amends. Give them an incentive to return to your restaurant by offering a coupon or complimentary item.
  • Finally, understand that you will not be able to win every customer back. Do not push too hard if they decline your offer; this makes your attempts seem disingenuous. By simply offering an apology and acknowledging their feedback without being combative, you can show future customers that you appreciate customer feedback – both positive and negative.

While it is never easy to receive negative feedback, there are ways you can make the most of it. Use every negative comment as an opportunity to reach out to your customers and see how you can improve their experiences. Do not ignore customer feedback or argue with the individual. After all, if their feedback is genuine, it can give you some good tips on how to improve your business in the future.

Image from Mangostar/Shutterstock

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