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To Respond or Not Respond

In today’s world of social media, reviews and comments can make or break a business. The internet savvy consumer knows where to go to find an evaluation of a restaurant, retail store and even a professional such as doctors and specialists. “Know before you go” has never been more applicable than it is in this connected world. However because we are dealing with humans, we can’t always be guaranteed fair and objective input. Sooner or later your business will be given a less than glowing review and how you deal with it can turn a negative experience to positive. So the question, do I respond or don’t I?

Most experts will tell you that just ignoring a negative comment is not the best approach. Showing an active interest in the perceived fault of your business, whether it’s true or not, is the best defense. Having a response plan is a good idea and it may look like this.

  • Start by sincerely thanking the submitter for the input and taking time to comment. Offer to take the issue off-line and make direct contact. You can ask additional questions and make any necessary clarifications. Other readers will see that you are serious about making improvements.
  • If you find that there is a business issue, own up to it and offer some type of restitution if appropriate. This might be a future discount or refund depending on the seriousness of the problem and your type of business.
  • Once you come to a satisfactory resolution ask the customer to append the review with the positive follow-up experience.
  • In addition to responding to these types of reviews, keep track of the issues looking for trends where improvements in the business can take place. This input can be a valuable tool for building quality into your product or service. Consider forming a quality team to develop changes to prevent problems before they take place.

If attempts to satisfy a customer don’t seem to be working, be sure to make use of the review site’s process to dispute a claim. Even if the customer is uncooperative it gives you a fair chance to state your side of the story. This will also send a positive message to those researching your business. Finally, if your business is “legal sensitive” consult with your attorney for their advice.

Written by Ted Saul, Sr. Staff Writer

Ted Saul is a business coach that assists with Business Plans and Project Management. He holds a master certificate in project management and has earned his MBA from Regis University. Ted can be reached on LinkedIn, TedS787 on Twitter or emailing

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