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The Most Offensive Company Response to a Bad Review I’ve Ever Seen

child surprised by a company response

In a previous post I showed you an example of responding to negative online feedback the right way.

Here is now an example of the exact OPPOSITE way to respond to a bad online review. This comes from a company’s Better Business Bureau page. I’ve removed all names to save the company any further embarrassment (though they probably deserve it).

First, the complaint. It’s massive, so I’ll post only a portion of it…

snapshot of a company negative review

Basically, the customer wasn’t satisfied with the work. When they called the company, they got the runaround. The customer says they eventually got so frustrated that they contacted their credit card company, which refunded the cost of the project.

Now, here is how the company responded. This is 100% real…

This is not only ridiculously unprofessional… it is offensive, petty, and crosses a dozen lines in terms of acceptability. I am blown away that anyone would EVER do business with this company.

I don’t have to worry about YOU reacting like this to a bad online review. But here is my point…

When a customer leaves negative feedback about you on a review website, do NOT get defensive in your response.

It’s easy to blame the installers, the sales manager, or even the customer. It may even actually be their fault. But DON’T BLAME THEM.

If you’re the owner, take full responsibility. Acknowledge the customer’s feelings. Thank them for providing their honest feedback. Apologize for not meeting their standards (even if it’s not your fault). Then tell the customer you’ll reach out to them to try to make things right.

Here’s what will happen when you do this:

  • Nine times out of ten, you’ll be able to come to a resolution with the unsatisfied customer. Studies shows customers who have a bad experience return to a company if the problem is solved quickly and satisfactorily. In many instances, customers will also amend their negative review and leave you positive feedback.
  • You’ll now retain that customer for future projects and referrals.
  • It will let potential prospects reading your response know that you’re professional. You do everything you can to ensure customer satisfaction.

Now, there ARE circumstances where a customer is just being an irrational jerk and writing bad stuff about you because they apparently have nothing better to do.

When responding to those types of reviews, feel free to explain your side of the situation in your reply. Just do so in a calm, rational manner. Still make sure to say something along the lines of “I’m truly sorry we weren’t able to make you happy.” Being the bigger person will build trust in any potential prospects reading your response.

Bottom line: When responding to a negative online review, it’s always best to keep on smiling… even if it’s through gritted teeth.

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Billionaire CEO Teaches You How to Respond to Bad Online Reviews

millionaire teaches you to reply to bad reviews

Elon Musk isn’t your average self-made billionaire CEO.

The man who launched Tesla Motors and SpaceX (a private-sector space exploration company—yes, really!) has a net worth of $20.7 billion. This currently puts him in 43rd place on Forbes’ wealthiest people list. He also has over 40,000 employees, runs a non-profit artificial intelligence research company, and recently founded a neurotechnology company with the goal of treating brain diseases.

Oh, and he’s 46 years old.

You’d think a guy trying to launch people into space and cure brain diseases would be too busy to respond to online reviews.

But you’d be wrong.

On August 18, 2017, a Tesla customer took to Twitter to lodge a complaint directly to Musk:

Paul Franks Tweet to Elon Musk

In just 24 minutes, Musk replied:

Elon Musk Response to Paul Franks

Holy crap.

Musk’s tweet is a master class in responding to online criticism from customers. Let’s dissect the tweet, so we can see how Musk gets it right…

  • He responds quickly.
  • He himself responds (not some intern or lower-level employee).
  • He makes the customer feel important by acknowledging the customer has a good idea.
  • He offers a solution the customer will find satisfying.
  • He makes zero excuses and does not shift blame.

This is the Mona Lisa of responding to negative online reviews. And it’s SO SIMPLE.

You can—and SHOULD—follow in Elon Musk’s footsteps. Respond to every online review. The good. The bad. The ugly.

This shows you actually give a hoot about your customers. It creates goodwill not only with the customer, but with the prospects who are looking at your online reviews to determine if they should choose you for THEIR projects.

It’s such an easy and startlingly effective way to build consumer trust. And it doesn’t cost you a dime. (To learn how to respond to online reviews, read this blog post.)

The only issue you may run into is actually finding all the online reviews about your company. There are dozens of online-review sites out there… some of which you’ve probably never heard of or know you were listed on. I’ve seen many clients’ jaws drop when they found out that they have a bad review on Website X. They didn’t even know their company was on there!

If you’re too busy to monitor the smorgasbord of websites in which your customers could leave a review, let MYM do it for you.

Our Online Reputation Management (ORM) is a comprehensive solution for maintaining and improving your online reviews and standing.

Here is some of what’s included…

  1. New Review Collection: After you complete a job for a satisfied customer, we email them and send them through an effective funnel that encourages them to leave a positive online review.
  2. Subpar Review Interception: If a customer leaves you a negative review using our ORM service, a pop-up appears with a message that says something like, “Hey! Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. We want to make it right. Please call us.” It will then give the customer a choice between posting the review and calling you before posting the review. This gives you a chance to turn that two- or three-star review in to a five-star review.
  3. Brand Monitoring: You are alerted every time a new review is published about your company on the internet. This is not limited to reviews we generate through the reviews process, but any review at any time. This allows you to quickly respond to all online reviews you receive.

For more information about MYM ORM—and to generate an instant online reputation report about your company—visit our official ORM page:

After that, get in touch with us by phone or through the online chat function on our website.

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How Contractors Can Protect Themselves From Online Review Extortion

If you’ve enjoyed my other posts (here and here) about how I despise Yelp’s business practices and lack of ethics, here’s another one for you.

I’ve told you about Service Champions, a company that used to have over 750 five-star reviews on Yelp that “mysteriously” vanished once the company stopped paying Yelp for advertising.

Service Champions is now down to a measly 81 five-star reviews and a 3.5-star average overall.

What’s happening is Yelp is burying Service Champions’ five-star reviews in the ultra-small, inconspicuous “Not Recommended Reviews” section at the bottom of Service Champions’ Yelp page.

Reviews that are not recommended by Yelp don’t show up in a company’s overall score or review-score breakdown. And the average person will never notice the 1,000-plus great reviews hiding on Service Champions’ Yelp page.

The other day, my curiosity got the best of me—I just had to know how much the “Not Recommended” reviews were impacting Service Champions’ score.

So I paid a guy on Craigslist $40 to tally the “Not Recommended” reviews and calculate the overall rating.

(Gotta loves Craigslist.)

Here are the results (remember, their average for “Recommended” reviews is 3.5 stars) …

Number of “Not Recommended” reviews: 1,302

“Not Recommended” reviews score breakdown:

1 Star – 35 (2.69%)
2 Star – 4 (0.31%)
3 Star – 3 (0.23%)
4 Star – 40 (3.07%)
5 Star – 1,217 (93.47%)

Average of “Not Recommended” reviews score: 4.84 stars!

If we add the “Recommended” reviews to these, the totals become:

1 Star – 86 (5.85%)
2 Star – 16 (1.09%)
3 Star – 16 (1.09%)
4 Star – 51 (3.47%)
5 Star – 1,300 (88.50%)

Grand total average for ALL reviews: 4.68 stars!

4.68 stars - shocked
The difference between a 3.5-star average (what Yelp says Service Champions has) versus a 4.68-star average (what Service Champions should actually have) is night and day.

Studies show a huge drop-off in prospect interest when companies dip below a four-star rating. That’s not just for Yelp, but also every other online review website.

Ninety-four percent of consumers said they would use a company with a four-star average, while only 57 percent of consumers said they would use a company in the three-star range.

What a difference one little star makes, huh?

This is why it’s important to constantly monitor your online reviews and generate new ones from satisfied customers. The amount of business you’ll lose out on with even an average online reputation is off the charts.

But how do you monitor your online reputation across 100-plus review websites AND generate a steady stream of new positive reviews… WHILE dealing with the 294 other aspects of running a business?

By having hired professionals manage your online reputation for you.

MYM’s Online Reputation Management (ORM) does everything you need to have a stellar online reputation that makes prospects want to contact you:

  1. New Review Soliciting – We shrewdly and respectfully email your customer list that you provide us and direct them to leave you a review.
  2. Subpar Review Interception – If a customer leaves you less than a three-star review (this number is customizable), it gives them a quick pop up that says, “Hey! Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. We want to make it right. Please call us.” This gives you the chance to take that poor review and turn it into a positive review.
  3. Brand Monitoring – You’ll be alerted every time a new review is published about your company. This is not limited to reviews we generate through the reviews process, but any review across review websites. This makes it easy for you to respond to negative and positive reviews quickly. (Which is something you should be doing—here’s how.)

Click here to find out more about MYM’s Online Reputation Management. Also be sure to use the free Review Scanner at the top of the page to generate an instant reputation report of your business.


P.S. I haven’t shown you a new client website in a hot second. That’ll change next week, as we’re rolling out a bunch of awesome new projects over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

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Why you should always respond to every online review (even good reviews)…

responding to online reviews
I’m dating myself with this story, but oh well.

My oldest son, Sam (24), took driver’s training in 2009.

When the kids in his class would practice driving on the roads, they knew they were supposed to use the turn signal when turning and when changing lanes.

But what about other times?

Did they really have to signal when merging on the highway… or when pulling into a parking spot?

The driving instructor, a no-nonsense kind of guy, always had the same response to the “blinker” question…

“Does it hurt anything? Does it cost anything?”

Point taken.

Now my son still fastidiously signals… pretty much all the time.

Think of this story the next time you ask yourself, “Should I respond to my online reviews?”

Here’s why…

Studies show 92% of people now read online reviews. That makes online reviews one of the most influential aspects of your marketing. Period.

Similarly, most of our clients know they should respond to negative online reviews. It just makes sense: Upset customers need to be dealt with—it’s obvious.

But what about responding to GOOD reviews? Is it really necessary?

“Does it hurt anything? Does it cost anything?”

The truth is, it actually PAYS huge dividends.

Your default position should be to respond to EVERY SINGLE online review.

Yep, all of them.

It’s an easy way to boost SEO. And it can help you drum up more business.

I’ll tell you how in a second.

But first, here is the exact blueprint for responding to good AND bad reviews…

Responding To Good Reviews

  • Thank the customer.
  • Specifically acknowledge what’s in the review; you want people to know it’s actually you and not an automated response. (“I’m happy to hear [insert employee name] provided a great experience for you.”)
  • SEO-ify your response by inserting your company’s name, location, and services. (“At [insert name], we’re proud to be one of [insert location]’s best [insert service].”)
  • Market your company. Mention why you were able to provide a great experience. Then, invite your customer to try another of your services and refer their friends.

What Happens When You Respond To Good Reviews:

1) Prospects find you more friendly and caring, so they’re more likely to hire you;

2) your SEO gets a little boost;

3) you get to market your company and showcase your strengths.

Example of responding to a good review:

responding to bad reviews - service champions

Responding To Bad Reviews

  • Say you’re sorry and express sympathy. (“Hi, [Name]. I’m sorry you had a bad experience.”)
  • Own up to any mistakes, and explain the type of experience you usually provide. (“We’re known for our attention to detail, and we apologize for missing the mark.”)
  • Provide your contact info, so you and the customer can discuss the issue and resolution one on one.
  • Keep it concise. No need to go into too much detail and say something that will make your customer more mad.
  • Do NOT include SEO stuff like business name, location, and services. It’s best if this review doesn’t show up on Google.

What Happens When You Respond To Bad Reviews: 1) The unsatisfied customer may change their negative review to a positive one; 2) the customer—now happy with you—is more likely to refer you or hire you again; 3) prospects see you fix problems, rather than neglect them, and that peace of mind makes them more likely to hire you.

Example of responding to a bad review:

responding to bad reviews - service champions 2

See? Simple.

The company in these examples is Service Champions. Leland, the owner, responds to literally every single review the company gets—good and bad. And they also happen to be the biggest HVAC company in California.

Here’s the thing…

The kids in my son’s drivers training class already knew the answer to the “blinker” question before they asked. They were just being lazy and didn’t want to reach the three inches to flip the turn signal.

The moral of the story: When it comes to responding to online reviews, don’t be like a lazy teenager.

Follow the blueprint I laid out above to squeeze every last drop of marketing juice out of your online reviews.

After all… it doesn’t hurt anything… and it doesn’t cost anything. 😉




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