Handling a Bad Review

Handling a Bad Review


Reviews are critical to the success of any business, especially when nearly 90% of consumers will consider a business or venue only if they have a star rating of at least 3+. Responding to bad reviews thus became an essential piece in not only building a positive online presence but also in encouraging future clients to either leave a good review or engage with your business.   


The truth is, we all have, at least once, received a bad review. It is simply inevitable. And it is not to be taken lightly. Indeed, a bad review will reach the ears of an average of 10 people, whereas a good review only 4.  So the first lesson about bad reviews: they will happen, whatever you do, no matter how hard you try. Simply because it is impossible to please everyone. The facts prove it, a 5-star experience is simply impossible.  
But are bad reviews really that bad?

 A study conducted by Harvard Business School found the majority of consumers trust reviews more when they see a mix of good and bad feedback. Which is not surprising: if the feedback is entirely positive, 95 percent of readers will believe the reviews are fake or screened by the company.  


  • Showing all of your reviews, both positive and negative, will prove you have nothing to hide 
  • Visible bad reviews show that all of your reviews are actually REAL 
  • It gives your future consumers a real picture of what they can expect 
  • Bad reviews can create a buzz, trigger curiosity, and negative attention is still attention 

Another recent study of 1.3 million reviews found that the most commonly used negative word in reviews is “disappointment” or “disappointed.” It was used almost 20,000 times, while the feared word “bad” was only, in comparison, mentioned about 7,500 times. “Disappointment” is very different from “bad”. It can be easily fixed, avoided, or even useful! Indeed, businesses can use the data collected from negative reviews to better communicate to customers what they should expect. Here is a clear example: interested by a t-shirt, you quickly scan the reviews and learn that the ordered size often does not fit the buyer’s actual size. You will thus avoid the same disappointment by ordering a larger size right away! 

Remember, a bad review is not entirely bad: it enhances the importance of the good reviews. People, while reading the reviews, will pay more attention to the good ones after reading a not-so-good one. In fact, if one of your client had a better experience than what they have previously read, they will write about it and underline how pleasantly surprised they were, encouraging future clients to not rely on these bad comments only. 

However, for most businesses, the first reflex is to remove the bad review, ignore it, make it disappear. Yet, the best you can do when facing one of these unpleasant feedbacks, is to actually see and address them. The first and most important thing to keep in mind, is that a poor review does not mean your product or service is bad. In most cases, the review is simply a result of a mismatched expectations of a bad day on the part of the reviewer or the business.  


The way you react will reveal how much you value your clients and their experience.  


  • Take the comments into account 
  • Do you understand the problem? 
  • Is this review accurate? 
  • Can you fix the problem? 


Second step – TAKE ACTION: 

  • Address the unsatisfied client 
  • Explain 
  • Offer apologies 
  • Provide a commercial gesture 


Taking the time to answer these reviews will show your customers that you care: about them, their impressions, and their well-being. Moreover, it will show that you care for both your happy and unhappy clients. For a future client, knowing that you will cherish them even if they are disappointed is a promising sign! 


And now, the cherry on the top, to turn this into something good! 
Saying sorry with a voucher or a discount will make even your most unsatisfied and grumpy clients come back to you. And HARi offers​ the perfect perks to help you with this important task: our customizable Loyalty program will make all your clients feel special (again)! 



Most businesses fear a negative review. However, not only can they be dealt with, they can have a positive effect on your business! The way we see it? Bad reviews are not a sign that you are bad, they are a sign that you can do better! And HARi has all you need to help you with that!  


Our ultimate tips:

Step 1 : Do not panic
Step 2 : Publish the bad review
Step 3 : Publicly respond to the review
Step 4 : Learn from the negative reviews
Step 5: Follow up with the unhappy client

Do it even better and easier with HARi’s solutions!


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