How to fix bad reviews

If you’ve been in business for more than a minute, you know what it’s like to receive a bad review from a customer. Maybe the review is left on Google, maybe Yelp, maybe Facebook. Wherever it is left, it never feels good. Best case, a bad review is undeserved. Worst case, it isn’t.

Bad reviews are a part of doing business. Here’s how auto parts and accessories companies can go about fixing a review problem.

Start By Creating A System For Getting Good Reviews

When your company gets a bad review, you might be tempted to reach out to a few good customers and ask them to leave you a good review. While this can definitely work, it’s not a long-term solution:

  • It can be hard to get your good customers to help you. It’s not that they won’t or that they don’t care, it’s just that – like most people – they’re busy and easily distracted.
  • A lot of review systems delete reviews. If you get a couple of good customers to leave you a review on Yelp (for example), they need to keep leaving reviews for other businesses. If they don’t, Yelp will prune your good reviews. Yelp (along with Google and others) flag reviews left by people who aren’t actively reviewing things.
  • The best defense against bad reviews is a bunch of good reviews. Instead of jumping to action when a bad review comes in, build up a stack of good reviews. This will help to offset any bad reviews that come your way.

So, instead of manually contacting good customers, create a system. We recommend using a tool like GatherUp to automate the review collection process. All you have to do is enter in the email address of every customer, and GatherUp (or whatever tool you use) will contact the customer asking for a review.

The best tools (like GatherUp) will use a two-step process to solicit reviews.

  1. First, they’ll ask your customer for a rating.
  2. If the customer gives a good rating, they’ll encourage the customer to review your business on Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc. – wherever they’d like to review you.
  3. If the customer gives a bad rating, they’ll collect the information and pass it on to you or your staff. But they will not encourage your customer to leave you a review.

By asking only happy customers to review your company publically, you can build up a good rating. (You might also generate your own testimonials, which don’t hold as much weight as third-party reviews, but they do help build trust none the less. Learn about those here.)

Fix Bad Reviews Whenever Possible

A bad review can be expensive, especially if your company doesn’t have a lot of reviews. Some studies say that one bad customer review can cost a business as many as 40 paying customers. While this number is only an estimate, the point is that just one bad review can cost your business a lot of money.

If, for example, someone is upset with your company over a small expense (like a restocking fee or a return shipping charge) and the cost of making the customer happy is only a few dollars, it’s probably a good idea to let the customer have their way. The trick is to ensure that the customer will update their bad review after they get what they want.

Grade.us has a comprehensive article that explains how to get customers to revise a bad review. In a nutshell, the process is:

  • Reach out to any reviewers who seem reasonable, listen to them, and resolve their complaints
  • Based on the type of personality they have, ask them if they’d consider revising their initial review

Most people who leave bad reviews will appreciate a genuine attempt to make things right, even if the attempt doesn’t quite result in them being completely satisfied. And getting a one-star review upgraded to three stars is a good step.

Respond To Reviews You Can’t Fix

Sometimes you can’t make an upset customer happy. They may be angry and unable to listen; They may be completely unreasonable; They may be fake! Whatever the case, a response is always a good idea:

  • Start by acknowledging anything that your company did wrong or could have done better and thank the reviewer for bringing the issue to your attention
  • Offer up any details that mitigate the customer’s complaint, but tread carefully: too much detail and your response may come across as defensive. Too little detail and it may come across as half-hearted.
  • Re-iterate what you’ve offered the customer to make things right. This way,  people reading can see you tried to resolve a problem, even when you were in the right.

There are quite a few helpful articles that talk about the best way to publicly respond to a bad review, including this one from ReviewTrackers (which includes some great examples).

Finally, do not post your response to a negative review without taking a deep breath and asking at least one other person to read your response over carefully. The last thing you want to do is respond incorrectly to a bad review and make things worse.

Last But Not Least, Learn From Bad Reviews

I’d love to say that Spork Marketing has nothing but glowing reviews, but that would be false. One bad review on Yelp from a former client still pains me. We deserved some criticism for failing to devote more time to them, and while there were some mitigating circumstances, we took the criticism to heart. We changed some business practices as a result of this bad review and now spend more time with brand new clients.

Basically, every bad review is a learning opportunity. If your company gets a bad review, there’s at least a grain of truth in the review somewhere. Sussing that out – and rectifying the problem – makes your company stronger.