Handling a negative review.

Ultimate negative review response.

It is really upsetting when you get a negative review.

Before I show you an amazing example of how someone responded to a malicious review, let me give you my thoughts.

Maybe you deserved a negative review. Maybe you have burst your backside trying to put together a business to pay you and your family, you really are trying your best. Then someone gets the hump and takes the easy option, quite often without any right of reply in the case of Google Reviews and posts a negative review.

Negative Review: What can you do?  Do you engage? How do you get it removed?

You could adopt the attitude that you are not going to give them the time of day.  But then it sits there for all to see.

Years ago in a customer service company where I sold contracts, I was alerted to moments of truth.  We all have them, get a new customer and then the shit hits the fan, panic, what do you do?  You engage, you get all the issues out on the table, you say you are sorry, you promise to deal with it, you escalate to management, you get the top man to put in a call, you do your best to solve the problem.  Even if you don’t solve the problem, you impress in the moment of truth.

The bad review goes up:

  1. Do you have a right of reply?  e.g. Facebook, Twitter?  If you do, then you ask for contact details or ask them to direct message you with the details so that you can investigate it further.  That alone can be enough.
  2. Your tone should be accepting, apologetic, surprised but you you want to find a solution. 1 and 2 are enough for someone reading to say you will engage if they have a problem, you will talk.
  3. Another thing you should be doing, is automatically requesting that every new customers posts a short review, send them a link, tell them what you need.  If you have a sensitive area of business, like a divorce lawyer, it may be better to ask how was the experience, rather than the outcome, how was the process, how were you treated.  You need to have a 100 positive reviews. That will also flush down the page the negative review.  You also need to moderate the reviews, in case you do get a negative, you can either not post it, or engage again and say we are sorry you had a bad experience, how could we make that 3 a 5 and then post a review if and when you get it to 5.
  4. You do the above and even if you know it is malicious, you engage, then reply unemotionally, explaining your side of the story and how or why it occurred.  I have bought from companies with negative reviews because the reviewer obviously had an axe to grind or was a competitor!
  5. I always investigate the negative reviewer. Are thy genuine? Are all their reviews negative? I found one person commenting on twitter about a matter in Ireland.  Turned out they were commenting from Bolivia! I heard nothing after I tweeted a reply copying An Garda Siochana and suggesting that they go into their local Garda Station and present this great evidence they had acquired, because obviously our Police force were unable to uncover such evidence that would have allowed them get a conviction. Trolls.
  6. You can always try to have a negative or inaccurate review removed, there is usually some button to press, but don’t count on it, we live in a place online where the empty vessels make most noise and can be heard by any cynic, sceptic out there, who then thinks it is true because it is on the internet.  I remember hearing a top Radio Presenter, reading out tweets as if they were the Gospel, when in fact it was just the usual unfounded negative drivel that opponents came up with.  I don’t know how the producer of the show let it happen.


Ultimate response to a negative review!

irelandbeforeyoudie.com posted this amazing article in response to a negative complaint.

“Dear Lovinhawaii,

Pic from irelandbeforeyoudie.com

Thank you for staying with us at Hotel Doolin on your recent trip to Ireland and for posting your feedback. We were very disappointed with the content of your review.

However, after investigating the particulars of your stay in detail with all team members I was even more disappointed to learn that the content of the review was not an accurate reflection of what actually happened.

From the title of your review, other readers would think that you inadvertently stumbled into Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn and that Hotel Doolin was full of brigands and cutthroats, that our staff wear eye patches and pantaloons and are hiding behind the pillars in the lobby, cutlass clenched between our teeth, waiting to jump out and pillage passers-by.

You say the hotel is deceitful and dishonest and that one of our staff members, Emma, is a liar when, in fact, it is your good self that is being liberal with the truth.

Emma did make a mistake on check-in with the rate, this was spotted the following morning by one of our more senior receptionists and was rectified before you checked out so that you never paid € 240 as you stated above.

Also, the duty manager met you the following morning, apologised for the mistake and gave you a further reduction on your rate.

We are 100% certain that Emma made a genuine mistake, as sometimes people do, and we feel it is very unfair and irresponsible of you to call her a liar and dishonest on a public forum.

I’m sensing a lot of anger in the review above and I know that you probably didn’t mean to let loose all that anger on us.

Hey, sometimes people just need to vent. Sometimes at night when I come home from a long day’s work at the hotel, I check to see if everyone is in bed and then I go out into the field at the back of my house and scream into the darkness. I let it all out, like a wolf on a moonlit mountain.

I feel better after that and nobody gets hurt. I’m not saying howling into the night like a wolf will work for you, I don’t know your circumstances, you may have neighbours that’ll think it is weird, but there are other ways of channelling rage that don’t have to involve Hotel Doolin and slandering Emma.

With regards the Wi-Fi, yes, the Wi-Fi in the west of Ireland is the worst in Europe, there is nothing we can do about this for the moment, although I think we are getting high-speed broadband in the area pretty soon. in the meantime, to anybody else reading this review. DO NOT COME TO DOOLIN IF WI-FI IS MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU THAN HUMAN INTERACTION, YOU WILL BE DISAPPOINTED.

There are three men over the age of forty working in the hotel. Only one of them was working on the night you stayed, so we didn’t know how to deal with the ‘grumpy old men’ in your review, until my assistant manager came up with the only viable solution.

We’ve decided to execute all three of these men to ensure that no other guests will have to endure the horrific ordeal you went through that evening in the bar.

Paul, Martin and Luis will be blindfolded and shot in the back of the head at Fitz’s cross after mass this Sunday. There will be trad music, cocktail sausages and face-painting for the kids and I can organise a pair of complimentary tickets for you if you wish to attend.

I know this will not make up for what happened to you but we hope it will go some way towards showing you that we take your feedback seriously.

You see, even though you hurt us deeply with your review, we’d still like to be friends, we’d love if you afforded us the opportunity to change your opinion of us and hope that you will return to Doolin someday.

In fact, each year on the 30th February we have a party for our valued past customers who think we are liars, we all hold hands and dance around a campfire and sing songs that help us forget about the past and look with hope towards the future. We’d love if you could make it (that lying cheating ruffian Emma won’t be there, we promise).”


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