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Customer Reviews – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Updated: Dec 6, 2022


If you own a business and you have online visibility, you can probably relate to the title of this blog. Sometimes reviews are music to the ears and other times they’re a dagger to the heart. You work hard building your business and go out of your way each day to provide awesome service, products and fantastic customer care. Sometimes you fail to meet your own high standards and have to make amends. Other times, you’re battling against people who are never satisfied.  

Let’s look at customer reviews objectively: occasionally your business simply doesn’t deliver the product or service that it promises. Mistakes are made every day and no business is perfect. The overriding factor here is customer service. Are you handling complaints in a friendly manner? Are you acknowledging your shortfalls? Are you learning from the errors? Are you willing to rectify the mistakes and offer the unhappy customer a sweetener?

Once upon a time, customer complaints were invisible. They were handled between the customer and the business, usually in writing, over the phone, or in person. A dissatisfied customer might tell everyone they know about their unsatisfying experience, but still, the reach was low.

Fast forward to a digital age that’s advancing at lightning speed and we see a whole new take on the customer complaint/review system. There are multiple  online platforms where customers can leave reviews. A few popular examples are Facebook, Google and TripAdvisor. Business owners worry that negative reviews are damaging because they influence how people see their business. We argue that these reviews can offer the business a chance to exemplify its good intentions and great customer care (if that's the reality).   Common Types of Review and How to Manage Them Star Rating Without Comment

These ratings indicate the user’s overall feeling out of 5 stars about their experience, however with no text to back it up, it’s impossible to read anything more into it. 

If the user has left a 4 or 5-star rating, it’s good practice to respond to them with a message of thanks. If the review is 3-star or lower, you may want to respond to it by inviting the user to contact you directly to discuss their dissatisfaction with you so that you can manage the issues. 

For example: Thank you for taking the time to rate us, ‘username’, we are happy you feel that we deserve such an awesome rating. We hope to see you soon. 

Or for low ratings: Thank you for taking the time to rate us, ‘username’. We are disappointed to learn that you feel we deserve a low rating on this occasion. We invite you to contact us directly on 123456789 to discuss your experience in detail so that we can understand the problem. Thank you. High Star Rating with Comment HALLELUJAH! A customer has given you a 4/5-star rating and a positive written endorsement! These people are the review angels and their comments are valuable.

An example response is: Thank you for taking the time to review us, ‘username’. Your kind words mean a lot to us. We hope to see you soon. Low Star Rating with Comment

No business is immune to these online customer reviews. No matter how good your product or service is, nothing is perfect. You will come across these reviews from time-to-time and your focus should be on your response, not the review. Believe it or not, these reviews give you a chance to shine! You can expose your excellent customer care in a public forum, and THIS is invaluable. Here’s an example:


"Avoid this restaurant! The service is slow, the food is not great, and we left feeling totally underwhelmed. We won’t be coming back."

Response by owner:

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review, user123. We are very disappointed to hear that your experience with us on this occasion was not of an acceptable standard. All customer feedback is taken very seriously and we invite you to contact us directly to discuss your experience and to see if there is anything we can do to rectify the situation.  Bogus Reviews Sadly, there are lots of people who will stoop to the depths of leaving negative reviews in various web spaces to lower your ratings and discredit your business. It can be a real battle. Most bogus reviews will fall under at least one of the following:

  • Reviewer has an anonymous name

  • Anonymous reviewer leaves a low rating with no comment

  • Several negative ratings or reviews appear within a short space of time

  • The same review is copied and pasted to several web spaces

  • The reviewer is known to you and you’re aware they’re trying to damage your reputation

Proving that a review is bogus can be very difficult. In fact, if a review doesn’t go against policies, it will likely remain in place for everyone to see. If a review contravenes policies, you can flag/report it for investigation. This process can take time, however it’s worth the effort if your case is successful. The best way to deal with any review is to respond to it, because this shows everyone that you genuinely care about customer feedback.  Golden Rules

  • Monitor reviews regularly and respond to each one

  • Always use a calm, professional tone

  • Be polite

  • Do not use aggressive, offensive or threatening language

  • Do not argue with the customer or in any way attempt to blame them 

  • Acknowledge the customer’s grievance and provide assurance that you are  looking into the situation

  • Do not make excuses or attempt to resolve the situation within the public review thread

  • Invite the customer to contact you directly to find a resolution

Don’t Let it Ruin Your Day It’s hard not to take bad reviews personally, however you must put it all in perspective and carry on. Ask your happy customers to leave reviews for you and, if you really are as good as you say you are, these reviews will shine brighter than the bad ones. Share this post:


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