Best Responses To Bad Reviews: Business Owners Take Note

Customers 20 minute read 17th August 2021

In the hospitality industry, reviews matter. No matter the platform, potential customers rely on word-of-mouth marketing and read reviews before visiting a business. But what if some of those reviews are negative? Business owners must come up with the best reply to nasty comments to improve the image of their establishment.

We’ve trawled the web to find some of the best responses to bad reviews. Some are super-smart, while others are too funny, intelligent, and witty to ignore. Here are ten review replies to inspire your digital comeback skills as a business owner.

Why Should I Respond to a Bad Review About My Business?

Before we dive into how to respond to negative review examples, let’s talk about why it’s vital for your marketing strategy.

It’s thought that 94% of consumers would avoid a business if they found bad reviews relating to it. What’s more, 53% of them expect companies to respond to negative reviews within a week.

Google reviews are important for your hospitality business, but so are TripAdvisor, Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews, and more. Keeping track of dozens of comments on many sites can overwhelm a person. That’s a lot of pressure on hospitality business owners to build and maintain a positive reputation and online persona for their venue. But the power of online reviews is always matched — or beaten — by the business’s response.

Get it wrong (or ignore the task entirely), and it’ll only add to your problems. Get it right, and you’ll reveal to the world that you genuinely focus on the service you provide. It shows that you care. You might even see new customers from your efforts.

Here are ten negative review response examples to learn how to respond to a bad review.

Best Reply for Bad Comments: Honest, Straightforward, and Heartfelt

Sometimes, a single reviewer hits with a barrage of complaints in one posted comment. In this bad customer review example, the overall experience was negative. However, the customer does share a highlight or two about the food quality during their restaurant visit. Based on their overall experience, they vowed that they would ‘never again’ return to the restaurant.

Review 1

Some of the best responses to bad reviews are like this one. The owner addresses each concern and reveals how the restaurant could have helped if they’d been aware of the issues on the day. Not involving staff is a common frustration for restaurateurs dealing with complaints after the event occurs.

The service industry is truly all about service to others. If you can’t turn around a negative experience at the moment, a humble and thoughtful reply to a bad review is best. Sometimes it’s all the reviewer wants to see.

2. How To Respond to a Bad Review: Example of Taking It on the Chin

Some negative reviews are justified and delivered in a reasonable, non-abrasive fashion. But they’re often the hardest to deal with — mainly if you know, deep down, that they’ve made a very valid point about your service. In such instances, the best response to bad reviews is, to be honest.

Review 2

As Bill Gates said in our article on 10 inspirational hospitality quotes, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.“ Follow this advice if you are wondering how to respond to a negative review example. Put your hands up and admit that you need to do better. Just make sure you explain how you will do that and thank the reviewer for their helpful feedback.

By offering your sincerest apologies, website visitors will see that responding to negative reviews is important to you. A great response could even turn a negative reviewer’s service experience around for them so much that they change their rating. The angry customer could change it to a neutral review or even a positive review after receiving assistance from you.

3. Replying When You Know Something Doesn’t Ring True

There are instances where negative reviews don’t tell the whole story. You’ll receive a one-sided opinion from the customer regarding an issue that has, in all likelihood, been blown entirely out of proportion.

Review 3

Worse still, this bad review example is probably altogether inaccurate. So, if you spot reviews that appear wholly unfair, research them and report back with your findings. This example is slightly over the top, but now you understand how to respond to a bad review by sharing your research findings.

4. Best Responses To Bad Reviews: Dealing With Lies

You can deal with a conflicting version of the truth. But what about when you’re dealing with a negative review that is a blatant lie?

Bad review examples like these are a rare thing, thankfully. But some people will stop at nothing to paint your business in the worst possible light online. And, for reasons only known to them. Check out this business owner’s brilliant, simple response to a fabricated negative review.

Review 4

Responding to negative reviews in a timely manner could turn other customers’ impressions about your business around. Remember that both positive and negative reviews are important for your business.

Having only positive reviews could seem deceitful. But negative customer reviews like this one prove that you are active on review sites.

Responding to negative reviews and reviewing all customer feedback is par for the course when it comes to owning a business. Utilize negative online reviews to demonstrate your brand’s customer service skills and improve your online reputation.

Bad Review Examples: Lies or Accidental Mistakes?

Here’s another example of an out-and-out lie disguised as a negative review. Perhaps the diner simply left the review against the wrong restaurant?

Review 7

This owner did their best to apologize to the reviewer while pointing out a potentially honest mistake.

Sometimes the best responses to bad reviews involve holding back and being straightforward with the reviewer. If the person who posted this sees they made a mistake, they could remove the review entirely. If they lied, then at the very least they knew they were caught this time.

Regardless, it is always better for the business owner to respond when they know the information in the review is inaccurate. This protects the business’s reputation and builds credibility with other site visitors who read this review.

6. The Best Responses To Bad Reviews Include Research Findings

How about when you’ve received a review from someone, and you’re confident that whatever they’re talking about or showing via a photo doesn’t have anything to do with your venue?

You’re probably right. Trust your gut. Go hunting for other reviews by the person posting the comments. Chances are, you’ll spot a pattern or something even more revealing about the way they conduct their online review process. That’s what this restaurant manager found when they dug a little deeper and replied with the best response to a fake review.

Review 5

While this is a pretty funny response to a negative review, the manager did their due diligence to find the truth. Fake reviews on social media are bound to appear. Thankfully, due to the image being reused online, this business has a great case to ask the review site to remove this one entirely.

As we’ve shared in talking about removing bad Google reviews and how to get Yelp reviews, both of these platforms will review comments that are flagged. Businesses should flag a fake review as breaking site guidelines or being deceptively slanderous. While we cannot guarantee this bad review example will be taken down, the manager has evidence to flag this one for removal.

7. Dealing With Online Reviews That Only Use 1 Word

It might be tempting to look past the reviews you receive that only contain a single negative word. That would be a mistake. The best responses to bad reviews always take feedback at face value. When dealing with online reviews, look at the reviewer’s profile or history to see if they are spamming business reviews.

Don’t miss out on the perfect opportunity to highlight someone attempting to fool your future customers with inaccurate information. Check out Raymond’s manager’s response below.

Review 6

While this case is unusual, don’t hesitate to reply to customers leaving one-word negative feedback. Remember, the best answers to negative reviews prove you care about your customer’s experience.

Ask questions to one-word review posters. Apologize for their negative experience and ask what the business can do to improve their experience. If they are a real customer, they could engage with your reply. Try to take the conversation offline, if at all possible, to direct message or email.

If they are a spammer, then no harm has been done. Your potential customers will see your response and understand that customer satisfaction is important to you.

However, always avoid a personal attack in response. Guessing that a frustrated customer is a bot or faking reviews is only that — a guess. Ensure your own responses are respectful and straightforward because they are on behalf of your company name.

8. 1-Star Review Response Example: Demonstrate What You’ve Done

Sometimes, you’ll find that no matter how hard you try to rectify a situation or address an unhappy customer’s problem, you simply cannot get a response from them. Sometimes the best responses to negative reviews don’t lead to a conversation with the dissatisfied customer.

Review 8

The general manager did a marvelous job of revealing the lengths they’ve already gone to while attempting to make things right. Business owners should always respond to negative reviews by sharing their experiences. Even if they are sorry to hear no replies from an unhappy customer, the fact that they responded shows excellent customer service.

Don’t forget to check other media channels for your business. The customer could have tried to take the conversation offline. Sometimes they only want to see that you reviewed their response. Either way, make negative customer feedback count by listening to their concerns. You may unintentionally create a new loyal customer.

If you are unsure how to reply to 1-star review response examples like this, find inspiration by reading responses from other local businesses. Try not to over-utilize response templates. Always add a personal touch to your messages; otherwise, readers will see that you reuse your replies.

9. Funny Responses To Negative Reviews: Revealing When the Customer Isn’t Right

If you’ve worked in hospitality for any amount of time, you’ll know that customer behavior is, sometimes, completely baffling.

Review 9

That kind of thing stays with you. If you subsequently receive a negative review from such a guest, you can get away with a more tongue-in-cheek response like this one.

Funny responses to negative reviews may give you a chuckle, but remember that potential customers might read them. The best responses to bad reviews always keep things professional.

The business owner, in this instance, did well to include that they like to keep their store clean. They also called out how the reviewer could have potentially created a negative experience for another customer. A future shopper would side with the business owners and reject the credibility of this bad review.

Negative Review from a Competitor? Gotcha!

Some of your competition may play dirty once in a while by leaving fake negative reviews on your profile. This is a terrible tactic, regardless of whether they are found out. It’s anti-competitive and paints their business in a bad light when the truth comes out.

Have you spotted negative online reviews from a competitive local business? There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from calling out the fake reviewer or business online. However, remember to stay civil and avoid personal attacks when responding to reviews, unlike this review response.

Review 10

Always hold your business to a high standard. Never assume that you know who the reviewer is. Only call someone out if you can dig deeper and prove that it’s your competitor through online research.

The last thing you want to do is start a feud with a rival business. The best responses to negative reviews use candor and tact to appeal to an upset reviewer and resolve the issue. This protects you, in case it happens to be an actual customer and not who you suspected.

Handling Negative Online Reviews Like the Experts

The reality is, bad reviews are inevitable. But, that doesn’t mean you have to fight fire with fire. Every bad review is an opportunity to reflect your brand or company’s values and reach out to dissatisfied customers.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this rundown of some of the best responses to bad reviews online. Some are definitely a matter of taste and whether you could pull them off as a reputation management strategy. However, they’re all honest, engaging, and (largely) reasonable.

Now that you know how to respond to bad reviews with thoughtful responses, are you ready to take the next step into WiFi marketing for your business?

Take advantage of your free guest WiFi with a customizable solution like Beambox. Are looking for a network management tool that also automates marketing campaigns? Use Beambox to improve your online reputation. Start your thirty-day free trial and turn your free Wi-Fi into a machine for growth.

Further Reading: How To Handle Bad TripAdvisor Reviews

Grow your business and customer loyalty with guest WiFi!

Related posts