Top 10 ways to undo the damage of a bad review

Are you tired of review sites gloating how “one bad review can lose you up to 30 customers a year?” We were too. So in the spirit of empowering businesses like yours, our team at Wyngspan dug up all the gritty research on how to bounce back from a bad review so we can help you repair your online reputation quickly.

Here’s what we found:

Should I even respond to a bad review? Yes, absolutely! But…only if you respond appropriately. Keep those knee-jerk emotions out of your response. Wait a day if you need to cool off. What you say can be the difference between repairing your image…or damaging it further.

Here’s how to undo the damage…and respond like a pro:

1. Respond promptly.
Yes, cool off first. But make sure you respond within 2-3 days. Don’t let enough time go by for people to start making judgments about your business practices based on a negative review.

2. Identify yourself.
Are you the owner? Manager? Say so and state your name. It’s a nice personal touch that makes readers feel more connected to you + your business.

3. Thank the reviewer for his time.
Oof. We know this one can be tough…but thank the reviewer for taking the time to provide feedback. This instantly builds your credibility + trust in the eyes of your audience.

4. Keep your response factual, not emotional.
When it comes to the Internet: cooler heads always prevail. Never be defensive. It comes off as petty. Remain pleasant, sincere, + helpful. Stick to the facts. Be the rational one.

5. Encourage the customer to contact you directly.
You might be wondering, why didn’t this customer just contact us directly in the first place? We hear you! Encourage this person to contact you offline so you can resolve the issue personally.

6. …but never offer freebies online!
If you publicly offer a discount to someone who’s written a bad review, guess what happens? Review site trolls start coming out of the woodwork! You know the ones…the self-described review-site-gurus who just love to threaten businesses to get free stuff. (Which, ahem, Wyngspan does not allow, ahem.) It’s okay to remedy real complaints with discounts…just do it offline.

7. Find out how accurate the complaint is.
Ask yourself or your staff: what happened with this customer? Was your team having an off day or is the review totally unreasonable? Gather basic facts so your response is informed + sensible.

8. Say sorry if the customer is (actually) right.
Hey, we all have off days. If you did in fact drop the ball: admit it, apologize sincerely, and move on. People aren’t looking for perfection online. They want to know you’re human + that you care.

9. If they’re not right?: Stay cool. Don’t over-apologize.
Sometimes reviews are irrational or (gasp!)… straight up fake. If the facts don’t add up, take the opportunity to highlight your strengths. Something like:
“Over the past 15 years, our family establishment has taken great pride in the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received regarding our customer service….so we’re particularly sorry if you felt we did not live up to the high standards we’ve set for ourselves.”

10. Have someone read it before you hit send.
One extra pair of eyes will do the trick. Just to make sure everything is spell-checked, grammar-checked, and emotion-checked.

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The 5 biggest problems with online reviews

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