5 Things You Should Never Do When You Get A Bad Review

Reduce the odds a single review turns into a truly damaging issue

We see a lot of advice shared about the things you SHOULD do when you get a bad review, but how about a bit of crisis prevention focused advice  to match? A key part of handling any negative situations online is making sure you don’t worsen the situation while trying to fix it, and that’s why today we’re going to talk about the 5 things you should NEVER do when you get a bad review.

  1. To borrow a timeless phrase from author Douglas Adams and his Hitchhiker’s Guide, “Don’t panic”.
    While Mr. Adams may have been addressing that advice to intergalactic space travelers, it applies to you too. Seeing a negative review roll in isn’t fun, but it’s not the end of the world either. Finish what you’re doing, take a deep breath, then work to determine how big a deal this truly is, whether there’s an actual mistake made, and similar.
  2. Don’t reply angry.
    Our brains are built to have a knee-jerk reaction when someone questions our integrity or professional performance. It’s natural, but coming off as a raging bully in a review response is one of the fastest ways to ensure anyone on the fence about whether to believe the negative claims will absolutely take them as 100%. true If you just can’t shake the emotions, let someone else take first pass at the reply.
  3. Don’t assume a lawsuit is your solution.
    Everyone wants to know if they can throw a lawyer at a reviewer to get them to go away, and the short answer is, “almost never”. While tools like cease & desist letters are sometimes used in conjunction with other reputation or crisis management tactics to pressure someone who is knowingly spreading lies, there are very few legal options available to make someone stop sharing their opinion. That said, it is important to have a lawyer on your side who can ensure you’re not violating state regulations regarding privacy or similar issues when posting review replies.
  4. Don’t leave it to whoever uses social media most.
    Far too many people are still making the assumption that the youngest and most social media savvy person in the office is the clear choice to manage their brand’s online activity. While there are many talented young social media and marketing managers out there, don’t assume that someone is ready to handle online communications purwely because they have an Insta following or were born after you. When a single negative review can cost you 30+ customers per year, whoever’s writing your responses needs to have serious experience or you will be losing money.
  5. Don’t “deal with it Monday”.
    For whatever reason, a hefty percentage of negative issues tend to show their heads on Thursday or Friday evening, and that makes it awfully tempting to “deal with it Monday”. Don’t fall into that trap! In a world where most consumers expect a reply to complaints within a matter of minutes, allowing an upset customer to stew for 48+ hours can spur them into additional action against your clinic, not to mention the number of folks who may see an unaddressed negative and decide to take their business elsewhere in that time. You wouldn’t leave a leaking pipe running over the weekend,  so why let your reputation drain away until Monday?

Want to learn more about reviews? See our post about what you SHOULD do when you get a bad review.

I’ll tell you from experience serving organizations of all shapes and sizes that, regardless of how well you run your operation, or how well you treat every single stakeholder, you will receive bad reviews. Take them in stride, fix what you can, and make sure you don’t fall into the trap of inflating a small piece of negativity into a massive issue.

Erik Bernstein
erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com