We’ve all seen it, the dreaded one-star review. Maybe the customer got your best employee on their worst day, your vendor delivered a bad batch of product, or they didn’t agree with your idea of a perfect experience that you had so carefully crafted. Let’s face it: bad reviews can make or break a business.

Why? Because reviews matter. A recent study said that 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much or more than a recommendation from family or friends. And that’s not all. 91% of people read reviews before making a purchase decision, and 68% of them make a decision after reading between only 1 and 6 reviews. I know that you read them too.

So what can I do to keep my five-star rating? Here’s 3 easy tips:


You own your business because you love what you do (we hope!). It’s your passion. Nobody wants to hear that the thing that they’ve poured their heart and soul into stinks. It’s just like someone telling your child that they’ve been cut from the team – it becomes personal.

Often we see business owners arguing with reviewers about why they’re wrong and taking the feedback personally. This will get you nowhere but a stressful day! Is the feedback true? Chances are if you’re being honest with yourself it is. Respond to the reviewer and be honest. Thank them for their feedback. Invite them back and ask them to contact you first so you can share their experience. Assure them that you are putting processes in place to correct it, and ask them to be the first to test it out. After they’re happy and you have developed a positive relationship with that reviewer, it’s OK to politely ask them to change their review. If you don’t think you can respond without taking it personally, it’s time to bring in an expert third party.


After the customer’s purchase, simply asking for feedback from happy customers can help to balance out negative reviews. If this is sent via email, a conversation prior to the email being sent helps. Use the language on the rating system. If a “10” is Outstanding, then have your employees ask the customer “is there anything further I can do to ensure that you’ve had an outstanding experience?” Using the language that they are going to hear in the future puts that word on the brain.

Ask open-ended questions prior to a survey being sent to discover any service failures along the way. Use questions like “what was the best part of your experience?” or “what could we do to make your experience better?” instead of “how was your experience?”. See the difference? In the first two questions the response is not likely a one-word answer. You’ll get more information.

One important note: make the e-mailed survey EASY. No one will participate, except those who are angry, if it takes a bunch of steps or clicks to get to the survey. Make the Facebook, Google, Yelp, or Angie’s List links easy to get to. One click and you’re done.


For every 1-star review, there’s bound to be several 5-star reviews (if this isn’t the case, contact one of our coaches to get some help with systems, service, and team culture). When you get an outstanding review, say thank you. Comment on the customers’ review and in a personal way, thank them for being your customer. In the same survey referenced above, 97% of people read the business’s response on the reviews. It’s a chance to show your humanity, your gratitude, and your pride in what you do. It can also be a great way to recognize a team member for their contributions to the business. Like this: “thanks so much for taking the time to tell us about your outstanding experience. I’ll be sure to let Sam know that they are appreciated for recognizing your needs ahead of time.” Using a personal message, and not a canned response, humanizes you and your business, encouraging people to return again and again.


Are you struggling with customer service? Is it too hard to manage social media, reviews, and everything that comes with it? It doesn’t have to be this way. Contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation with our experts who’ve been there before and helped countless business owners shine.

About the author,

Director of Marketing, ActionCOACH Columbus

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