Strategies for Responding to One-Star Business Reviews

Are You Faced with Business Complaints?

Today’s online economy presents many challenges to a business owner, and scathing reviews are arguably the biggest hurdle for many. I write for many different industries and find that one of the biggest concerns is managing customer reviews.

You can have a great experience with a customer only to discover later on that they didn’t feel the same way. Instead of telling you at the time and giving you an opportunity to repair the situation, they posted a complaint somewhere on the Internet, and now you’re faced with responding to it.

Yes, I know it isn’t necessarily fair, but that doesn’t mean the process can’t benefit you in some way.

How do I turn this around, you may be asking?

Here are a few ways to get on top of the online review process:


  • Establish business policies and stick with them. Being clear about what you can and can’t do for your customers and posting that information can make many complaints invalid. You may find it tedious to write about the same policies over and over, but it can help a reader looking for your services understand that the complaints are ridiculous.
  • Always be polite. It doesn’t matter how nasty and scathing the reviewer’s comments, always be professional when responding. Meeting their anger with yours may feel good in the moment but can come back to haunt you later. Reviews are rarely deleted by the websites they’re posted to, and your reviews can follow you all over the web.
  • Prepare your answers carefully, and decide you have the advantage. You’ve been given an opportunity to correct a misperception, and that warrants spending a little time crafting a response that proves a point. You can start out by simply saying, “Many people have misunderstood “XYZ,” and we’re happy to have this opportunity to clear this up.
  • Create a mechanism that allows you to capture reviews when a customer is happily interacting with you, either on your premises, over the phone, or online. Catching them in the moment will garner you better reviews, but don’t be surprised if they give you a four rating even though they had a wonderful transaction. Smile and say “Thank you.” It’s better than a one, two or three.

I wish you well with your reviews. Just remember it’s an opportunity to interact with your customer and learn something new. If you see it any other way, you run the risk of pushing potential customers and revenue away. Make it part of your customer service process and hire people who understand its value.


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