Managing Nightmare Reviews of Your Brand

One of the biggest issues created by the Internet is the way a single bad comment or complaint about your product or service can spread virally all over the web, destroying your reputation in a matter of days.

The problem is magnified by the fact that people don’t just spread the complaints online, but offline as well through gossip and word of mouth, which can sometimes exaggerate the extent of the original complaint. How do you respond in such a way that it looks like you’re dealing honestly with the complaint while not seeming defensive? Here are some tips on how to manage bad online reviews.


  1. Determine if there is a basis for the client’s bad review of if they are just acting out because of some imagined slight. The first step is to look into exactly what happened. Did the customer genuinely get a bad product or service, or are they just unhappy with what they got? In both cases, of course, you will have to apologize, but in the former, there is also a problem that you will have to correct. For example, if there is a defective product, you will have to check if there are other defective items that may have been sold or which may need to be withdrawn from sale. If the customer received bad service, then you will have to sanction the employees involved and maybe, correct systems for delivering service in order to avoid the problem happening again.
  2. If there is no basis for the complaint or bad review, contact the site that posted it to offer your explanation, and provide a factual basis. Remember not to be emotional and to keep things professional when presenting your side of the issue. Ask to be able to post your side in the interests of fairness.
  3. If you have an email address for the person who posted the complaint, send them a message explaining what happened and offering them an incentive to help resolve the problem. For example, you can offer a gift certificate or a free meal voucher. Of course, you will have to handle this process carefully in order to avoid giving the impression that you are bribing the complainant. Give them the impression that you are genuinely concerned about their complaint and are interested in resolving it as reasonably as possible.
  4. If the complainant starts getting too personal or making unfair comments, avoid fighting back. Just answer their comments reasonably without getting into a fight with them that would inevitably reflect badly on you.
  5. If it becomes clear that there is no resolving the problem, don’t be afraid to walk away. There are times when you will encounter people who will not be mollified, no matter what you do. The Internet’s term for these individuals is ‘troll’. If you encounter one of them, realize that no amount of rational argument will ever convince them of the rightness of your explanation. So just don’t bother engaging further since you would just be wasting your time.
  6. Give incentives and ask for customers’ online testimonials, or contact bloggers to write about your product/service. This way, the positive posts will replace negative reviews displaying in the search engines.
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Paul Agabin is the Founder and CEO of Wooka Interactive. He is an internet marketer based in the Philippines which deals with varied topics such as local industry news, seo strategies, content marketing, inbound marketing, social media management, website reviews, and the like. You can contact him at 0917-5069839.

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