Business & Marketing Tips

5 Tips to Handle Bad Reviews Like a Pro

We all know that online reviews are critical to the success of any business - especially those in the home improvement industry. A staggering 93% of consumers say that online reviews impact their buying decisions. We’ve actually got to the point where the vast majority - 84% - of Americans trust online reviews as much as they do recommendations from friends and family. So what do you do when those inevitable bad reviews come in? 

Well, there's some good news. Consumers actually EXPECT you to have a few bad reviews here and there. When a company has no negative reviews at all, it’s hard to trust that the positive reviews are legitimate. That being said, it’s important to handle bad reviews in a way that lets people know what type of company you are. If they see that you

Without further ado, here are some basic steps you can take to properly handle bad reviews in a way that won’t reflect poorly on your business (and may actually encourage more people to give you a chance!). 

Online reviews


  1. Respond quickly. When people are hot under the collar, they don’t want to wait around to hear from you. But it’s not just the reviewer you are trying to impress. Forty-five percent of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company that responds to their negative reviews. So how quickly should you respond? Best practices recommend responding within 24-48 hours of a review being posted. 
  2. Empathize and apologize. It’s easy to feel immediately defensive when reading a negative review. Try to distance yourself from the emotional impact and think about what mistakes might have been made by your team. Even if it is a misunderstanding, realize that what the customer is feeling is real to them. This is true even if you don’t agree with them. Say something along the lines of, “I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. That must have felt really frustrating.” By empathizing and apologizing, you take a lot of the anger out of their sails and deescalate the situation. 
  3. Make it clear the experience doesn’t align with your business philosophy. Assume that every potential customer is reading both the negative review and your response to it. You want to be crystal clear that this experience was an exception to the way you do business. You can do this by saying something like “At X Company, our goal is always to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction. It sounds like that didn’t happen in your case.” 
  4. Move the conversation offline. Rather than going back and forth in the very public comment sections of the review site, try to move the conversation to a private location. Finish your response by letting them know that you want to make it right and would like to chat with them privately. “I’d like to make this right. You can reach out to me at X, Y, or Z.” If you’re on a site that allows for private messaging, follow up immediately with a private message. If you have their information, have someone reach out and call or text. If you don’t have any information on who this person is, share your email or a customer support phone number where they can call in.  
  5. Ask for positive reviews from others. While a negative review here and there isn’t inherently terrible, it’s still important to try to bury those negative reviews with positive ones. After a particularly bad review comes in, it is a great time to ask for positive reviews from some of your happy customers. You can do this in person or via technology such as email or text message. To learn more about how you can use Hatch to set up automated campaigns to send out review requests, click here. 


While no one likes seeing a negative review, by following these tips you can turn the situation around - and maybe even into a positive one for you. As other potential customers see the professional and respectful way you respond to negative reviews, they’ll feel more comfortable doing business with you. 

For more tips on how good communication skills can elevate your company, be sure to download our free ebook, “The Complete Guide to Conversation Optimization.”

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