One of the best marketing tools available today is review-based marketing. Your customers can share their experience with you on sites like Google My Business, Womo, Facebook and many others. Giving you an unbiased form of testimonials that your prospects can search and read online.

This can be a double-edged sword. People who review you or your business can write either positive or negative comments. And once a review goes up, it is nearly impossible to have it removed.

So how do you deal with negative reviews?

Well, just like a traditional customer complaint, the first thing you need to remember is that if a customer complains, they are doing you a favour. I know this is hard to understand, but let me explain. If an unhappy customer doesn’t complain to you, they are probably complaining about you to all their friends and family, and you’re not even there to defend yourself.

A customer complaining is your opportunity to demonstrate your customer service skills, and now that they do it online, the whole world gets to see you in action.

So the basic steps to dealing with a customer complaint are…

  1. Acknowledge and thank the customer for letting you know. This addresses their need to be recognised and valued.
  2. Apologise for any upset that it may have caused. This will disarm the attacker and demonstrate your ability to take the blame and control of the situation.
  3. Offer to resolve the issue offline. Having a battle online will only add weight to the complaint and make you look like you’re trying to defend your position. The goal is to be seen as responsive and helpful, so ask the customer to contact you or drop in to the store so you can resolve the issue in person. Even if they don’t respond, you have held out the olive branch and offered to help. Another plus to you.
  4. Make sure you address the negative review ASAP. Your ability and speed of response will be online and available for the world to see forever. In many situations, you will convert the complaint into a marketing message of how responsive you are to your clients.


Review based marketing is here to stay, platforms like Uber, AirBNB, Tripadvisor, Zomato depend on it, so you and your team need to adopt a systemised way of dealing with complaints and turning them into marketing pieces for your service.

To find out more about using Review Based Marketing to propel your business forward, contact David Guest