How to handle customer reviews the right way

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Customer Reviews. Flickr image by Wickerfurniture


I am compelled to write this article because over the last week, I’ve come across several articles discussing how and when to respond to customer reviews and some of the advise is downright silly, as far as I’m concerned.

It’s also dangerous to a business owner, in the sense that ultimately, his/her business will be ruined.

Firstly, a disclaimer – I don’t know this company that I use in the image above. I found it by chance on Flickr.

If you look at the image closely, you’ll realize that the company got a good online customer review. If I ask how you would respond, if you got such a review for your business, I’m quite certain, you’d be ecstatic and you would probably reply positively to this customer within the hour.

Here’s the advise from Hubspot…

"Beware of negative comments that are simply meant to get a rise out of you. Beware of people simply trying to capitalize on your visibility by getting you to respond to their comment, or trolls who just want to cause trouble. Know when it’s appropriate to step back instead of adding fuel to the fire."

And here’s the piece of advise from Media Post

"...if the brand is, say, Tide, immediate responses don’t necessarily make sense, says Maya Grinberg, chief Evangelist and social media manager at Google’s Wildfire. “A P&G brand like Tide has millions and millions of people making comments,” she says. “Is it reasonable to expect that every one of those comments will be responded to — and within an hour? No.”

These are brain-dead teachings.

What criteria would you use to determine which is a genuine review and which one is from a pest?

If you don’t respond, other visitors who read these nasty reviews will assume that it’s true and will lose confidence in you.

I think sometimes, such advise comes from writers and business people who have no experience running a business, especially a retail business. One bad consumer feedback is enough to turn customers away and leave you wondering where your customers went and your sales too.

On the bright side, the article on Media Post had a sensible reader who commented…

"IMHO, timeliness is a secondary factor. The primary factor a satisfactory answer; one that upholds the promise between brand and consumer. A bad response given quickly is a case study. A response that upholds customer satisfaction (there is an assumption of reasonability) can be delayed for some time, as long as it delivers on the promise."

And please don’t think that if the review was a false one, you can haul the reviewer to court and get it deleted.

You can’t.

The courts have already decided that such feedback (even if detrimental) can remain online…

Court Allows Negative Reviews To Remain Online

Here is a quote from Maya Angelou to ponder upon…

maya angelou - how people feel

If the negative comment was genuine and you ignored it, that customer will always remember that you didn’t even have the courtesy to respond. They will make sure their feelings are revealed to many of their friends. According to statistics, you will have a decline in your number of patrons.

Now, it’s your turn.

What will you do, if you get one negative review or even 10 in one day?

Would you ignore it (them) or respond?

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