How to handle negative reviews

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No matter how hard you try to make clients happy, sometimes it happens. The negative review. Chances are, if they take the time to criticize your work, it is going to be a particularly cruel. And there it is, glaringly obvious at the top of the list.

How do you survive this blow to your business? Here is what you should and shouldn’t do when negative reviews come your way. The do's and don'ts of handling negative reviews:

DO reflect on what you can learn from this

Once you’ve had a chance to calm down, what can you do next time to avoid this? Sure sometimes it’s just a matter of someone having a bad day or a generally being a jerk. But it never hurts to use this as a chance to improve your business.

DON’T let emotions get in the way

This is tough- since it always feels like an attack, and some clients will try to make it personal. But if you let a bad review get to your head. You can’t deal with the situation properly if you’re too emotional.

DO respond to negative reviews publicly

Take the time to address the clients concern and offer a solution in a calm, polite manner. You not only take care of the unhappy client, you show just how professional you are (which can often negate the bad review itself- check out our tips for professional communication with clients here.)

DON’T get upset if the site refuses to take down reviews you don’t like

Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, Google- they all have similar policies. They don't remove reviews.  They are just trying to be fair and honest to current/potential clients (that is the point of reviews) and that is what the client thinks.

DO encourage loyal clients to leave good reviews

 Sure, it looks bad when your top review is negative. However, just be patient. If you know your work is good, always ask regulars leave positive feedback. Pretty soon, the bad review will be buried deep within the praise.

DON’T contact the reviewer privately after they submit a review

Contacting clients immediately after an appointment for feedback is a nice gesture (or, at worst, a little annoying if they’re busy). However, calling/texting their private number after a negative review may be seen as an intimidation tactic to get them to remove the review. Give them an option to reach out to you, and leave it at that.

DO let the site know about dangerous/illegal reviews.

You should request a review to be removed when:

  1. The review uses slurs or discriminatory language that attacks your race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. -
  2. It includes threats or violent intent.
  3. The review shares private info about you, without your consent, that is unrelated to your business. (e.g. private number, home address, names of family members/friends, things about your personal life, etc.)
  4. You have proof that the review is not from a real client. However, this issue is avoidable if you have the right system.

Here's where Booksy can help

DO use a review system that only allows real clients write reviews: We’ve all seen examples of Yelp pages covered in fake reviews as a form of attack. Booksy verifies all client accounts, and only lets a client leave a review once they have booked and an appointment through Booksy. That way, only legitimate reviews show up on your page.

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