Zoda Design Blog
How to Handle Bad Reviews
This article came across my desk a couple months ago and I’m just now getting the chance to talk about it: House Passes Bill Making It Illegal For Companies to Sue For Negative Reviews. For those of you who remember American Politics 101, remember that it has to pass in the Senate and with the president before it actually becomes a law (I love how titles can sometimes be misleading).
Anyhow, I think it’s silly that a law needs to be created for this but I can see why it does. Some companies can’t handle wearing their big-kid pants and want to go tattling to mommy if someone hurts their feelings. They also don’t want to pay money for a customer service representative to actually address the issue that made the situation occur in the first place. Too many companies are so wrapped up in the bottom line that they forget how to do good business.
But here’s the rub, folks – negative reviews happen. You can hope and pray that they never happen to you but I promise, someday they will. If you’re equipped to handle them beforehand you’ll already be in a good position to keep your reputation in tact. Here are some tips that I hope you’ll agree are common sense:
1. Don’t be a shady businessperson. Yes I know, running your business with integrity doesn’t always make you rich, but if you have a conscience this should be ok with you.
2. Treat your customers with respect and honor your commitments. Your time is valuable but so is your customer’s. Try not to miss a deadline but if you have to, make sure you communicate this to your customer. Tell them why – especially if it’s a personal issue. It never hurts to remind someone that you’re human, just like them.
3. If your customer has a complaint, listen to them. As the old adage goes, we have two ears and one mouth and need to use them proportionately. Ask them how you can fix it and respond to their request with respect. If necessary, take some time before responding if you’re feeling offended or hurt by their complaint.
4. If you cannot resolve the issue, try to give them options. Explore your network to find someone who might be able to solve their problem.
5. If there’s truly nothing you can do, apologize. Sincerely.
If you do all this, chances are still good that when this customer reviews you, they’ll still have something nice to say. “Yeah, they weren’t able to help me but I am confident they did everything in their power to find a way. They handled themselves with integrity.” This type of review speaks volumes about how you do business.
And, in the end, if you do receive a bad review, make sure to respond to the reviewer publicly. This way, anyone who reads this review can see that you are engaged with the customer and are committed to helping them, even though they no longer intend on working with you. People really do like to see this, so give it a try.
And, at the end of the day, don’t beat yourself up. Mistakes are what help you grow and learn and do better business. You’re only human after all. 🙂
Owner & Web Developer
Jessica Walker is a web developer from Flint, MI, and is also the president/owner of Zoda Design. She has a Bachelor's degree in education from Eastern Michigan University, and a Masters of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University. She has been doing web design as a hobby since 1999 and finally decided to do it professionally in 2012. What to chat? Shoot her an email.