Online reviews have been around for a while now, and if you own a business, you’ve probably received at least one comment from a crotchety customer. What have you concluded is the best way to deal with bad reviews?

  • Read it. Get ticked and move on. You cannot win this battle. In most cases, the store is not at fault in any way — the customer is mad because they did not get their way. — Joan Charlene Little, Genesis Jewelry, Muscle Shoals, AL
  • In general, do not engage. But if you must it: A) It cannot be a canned response; people see that you put no effort into it if you just copy and paste the same thing on all bad reviews; and B) it must not be defensive, insincere or patronizing. It should invite the person to speak/email/visit again to clear up any issue. — Casey Gallant, Stephen Gallant Jewelers, Orleans, MA
  • Face it head-on and admit when you’re wrong! — Chuck Kuba, Iowa Diamond, Des Moines, IA
  • I ignore all, great, bad and everything. I read them and discuss the bad ones and learn from them. But never get into a spitting contest with a skunk! — Stephen Ware, Ware Designs, Lafayette, CA
  • Choose your battles wisely. We focus more on highlighting our customers on Facebook to generate a friendly environment. — Theresa Namie, Stephen Vincent Design, Minneapolis, MN
  • B.I.F. Take it head-on and be Brief, Informative and Friendly. — David Blitt, Troy Shoppe Jewellers, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • You need to respond to a bad review; you can’t be angry or rude. If necessary, apologize and explain how you solved the problem or what you can do to fix it. — Tom Schowalter, Miners Den Jewelers, Royal Oak, MI
  • Apologize, thank them for taking the time to submit the review, promise to use it as a teaching opportunity, offer to handle the customer personally the next time. If the review is too off-the-wall, however, sometimes there’s no way to answer it in a reasonable manner. — Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler, Palo Alto, CA

  • Approach each negative review individually and ask yourself, “Will responding make this better or worse?” It’s a stressful call to make, but sometimes trying to “fix it” can make it worse. — Kristin Cornwell, Cornwell Jewelers, Athens, OH
  • We usually reach out to that person and ask what we can do to better their experience. If the situation is appropriate, we would then ask if they feel comfortable to leave a new review with their current experience. — Alisha Moore, Toner Jewelers, Overland Park, KS
  • Bad reviews can be an excellent source of credibility and morality. We always respond with the heart to acknowledge the customer angle and offer the best resolution possible. Even if both parties cannot agree on anything, this response shows review readers that we are ready and willing to not only serve them but to go the extra mile to make sure they are happy. — Morgan Bartel, Susann’s Custom Jewelers, Corpus Christi, TX
  • It’s always best to call or contact the reviewer directly to discuss what led to the bad review, what could have been done differently, and determine if anything still can be done to change the reviewer’s mind. If the reviewer is just an angry person who is unreasonable, then chances are nothing will be resolved. But nine times out of 10, people’s minds can be changed and a new, better review posted. — Valerie Naifeh, Naifeh Fine Jewelry, Oklahoma City, OK
  • We rock it old school! There are too many keyboard warriors out there. We like to call the person and ask them to come in and talk about why they were disappointed in us and what we can do to improve our customers’ experience. — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT

This article originally appeared in the January 2018 edition of INSTORE.

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