A Masterclass in Bad Reviews

No matter what size business you run, bad reviews suck. They can be hurtful, do nothing for your online reputation and, worst of all, most of them are totally BS.

We work really hard to offer great services and great products and when someone doesn’t see it or feels like they’ve been cheated and wants to complain, the first thing they do is go to the social media tool of their choice and tell the whole world about how terrible we are.

It’s sucks. So, what are you supposed to do?

Well, look and learn folks. We’ve found a pretty fantastic example of how to handle a bad review and we’re going to break it down.

Exhibit A. The Review with Answer

Pretty great, right? Let’s breakdown why this response works so well and what we can learn from it.

First up (and the most important rule) is that the business owners acknowledged and replied to the upset client. They didn’t bury their heads in the sand and ignore it, they didn’t fail to check their emails or their booking platforms and never see it….they read it and acknowledged it. This is crucial, folks. Bad reviews are basically forever and letting them sit out there unattended is like leaving a wound open to fester. No bueno. Ok, enough from that soapbox.

Secondly, they opened with an apology. It’s a nice touch and one that gets overlooked.

Third, they kept the tone light and not terribly defensive. I can sense a little bit of tension in the writing but overall, it’s well managed.

Fourth, they stuck to the specifics. They outlined what steps they took to corroborate the complaint, what their policies are and how they differ from the online booking system that the customer presumably used.

By taking the time to acknowledge the issue and address the problem with the guest, they are showing that they care about customer service and, it sounds like, would have been willing to make it right with the customer had they been fully aware of the situation.


Don’t let a bad review sit out there unacknowledged. When you do respond, do so in a meaningful way that sticks to the specifics.