As a business owner, the thought of negative customer reviews can keep you awake at night, worrying that one unhappy customer will destroy your reputation and do irreparable damage to your business. Like most business owners, you’ve got a staff to support and bills to pay, so a decline in business can really hurt your bottom line.


There is hope!  Customers reviews don’t have to hurt your business, but can be a way to learn what will make your business even better. Let’s look at some strategies to turn negative customer reviews into an asset for your business.


First, re-frame negative customer reviews.


1) Your business might not be a good fit for customer. This is a good thing because every business is not meant for every customer. Any good business has a business plan and a market niche, and that niche is not everyone. Sometimes people want to try to make your business into what they want it to be, instead of what it is. So learn to tell the difference and know who you are and what your niche is. Being that will make your true customers happy.

2) If the customer who left the review is a good fit for your business, then the negative review is an opportunity to learn more about how to better meet the needs of your customers.

3) A negative customer review is your opportunity to make a positive situation out of a negative one, causing greater customer loyalty in the end (also called the service recovery paradox).

4)The customer might be having a bad day (we all have these days, right?).

5) The customer might just be a jerk. This will be apparent in how he or she communicates the problem—sometimes it is evident when they start personally attacking your staff or using foul language that, really, this person is more interested in being angry than they are in effectively communicating the issue and helping you solve it.


Second, remember to use the Disney approach.


One of the most effective ways to deal with angry customers is the Walt Disney Approach, pioneered by the man who was used to dealing with millions of crying children and their tired parents every day. It is the HEARD method of customer service when dealing with dissatisfied customers:

  • Hear: let the customer tell their entire story without interruption. Sometimes, we just want someone to listen.
  • Empathize: Convey that you deeply understand how the customer feels. Use phrases like “I’d be frustrated, too.”
  • Apologize: As long as it’s sincere, you can’t apologize enough. Even if you didn’t do whatever made them upset, you can still genuinely be apologetic for the way your customer feels (e.g., I’m always sorry that a customer feels upset).
  • Resolve: Resolve the issue quickly, or make sure that your employees are empowered to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask the customer: “what can I do to make this right?”
  • Diagnose: Get to the bottom of why the mistake occurred, without blaming anyone; focus on fixing the process so that it doesn’t happen again.


Third, respond publicly with empathy.


Most important of all, you should respond publicly. When you have a negative online review, you have the opportunity to show your current and future customers that you care about customer feedback and are working to resolve issues that develop. Of equal importance to responding publicly is that you do not defend yourself. Your response needs to be an apology for how they feel and a request for an opportunity to make things right. Be human, empathetic, apologetic, and demonstrate that you genuinely want to make them happy.


Instead of trying to get negative customer reviews removed from review sites, focus on solving the underlying issues. In many cases, customers who leave negative reviews end up going back and taking them down themselves or amending them to say how happy they were with the response. Addressing the underlying issues will help you build a stronger product or service that more customers will be happy with.


In the end, one of the best ways to deal with negative customer reviews is to get more positive reviews for your business. The more reviews you have, the less weight potential customers will give to the negative ones. If you need help with getting reviews for your business, contact BizIdentity for help.