Don’t Try To Bury Bad Customer Reviews

Review Director

I was thinking about how businesses try burying bad reviews (the wrong way) and the movie Poltergeist came to mind. It's one scene in particular where the coffins and bodies started popping out of the ground in a rainstorm. That's a lot like how your reputation problems start popping up when you think you've got them buried.

The wrong way is hoping to just get more good reviews to make the bad reviews have a smaller impact. But that's the advice you've seen countless people give, right? Wouldn't a better way to deal with bad reviews be keeping them from being posted on the internet to begin with? That's what Review director does, stop bad reviews, before they're posted.

It can be scary

When you get the email or text message from Review Director on your phone, you need to acknowledge it by following up with the customer to fully understand the problem. If they didn't say anything to your face (most people don't want a confrontation) but point out a problem afterward, you need to follow up with a solution. But more importantly, you need to make them feel like they've been heard.

You haven't seen scary yet, but it's coming…

When people feel as though you're not listening, that you just dead-ended their complaint, “they'll show you” by going to the biggest platform with the biggest megaphone they can find, the internet. And when they post their experience, people chime in with what they think about it. And just like all of those bodies floating to the surface, the situation starts looking really bad really fast.

Don't make people feel as if you're burying the negative or not giving their complaint the weight it deserves.

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So what can you do?

It can't be said enough, make sure they feel like they've been heard. Don't make people feel as if you're burying the negative or not giving their complaint the weight it deserves. That is the surest way to get them to make it their mission to blacklist your business anywhere they can.

Preventing the uprising

You want them to feel as if they've been heard and you actually take criticism seriously. Some soft people skills go a long way in smoothing over rough edges of mistakes. I understand there are some times when there is nothing you can do to please some people. But those are not the norm.

How it works

Most people will be happy to know that you heard them and recognize a change needs to be made. Ask them for any other suggestions on what they think could have been done differently. You'd be surprised to find that even though the way you've been doing something for years has worked best, there actually could be a better way you just can't see from the inside.

Get it, use it!

Use the feedback form to hear what your customers don't like and implement changes based on that feedback. That way you can make sure that you get more and more happy people who are willing to point business your way. Converting would be detractors into advocates is powerful.


Follow up with them after changes are made. Review Director gets you their contact information. Let them know changes have been made and invite them to return and give your business another chance.

A system like Review Director in the wrong hands could be used for evil. Of course it can. Anything in the wrong hands can be used for evil. But that doesn't mean that it will save a bad business from their own bad practices IF they want to continue those bad practices as Business As Usual.

The right way to bury bad reviews is to get so many good reviews, the stray negative review that occasionally finds its way to the internet won't sink your reputation. And when you use Review Director for good, everybody is happy.

About The Author

Rob Calhoun

+ Rob Calhoun Helps small to medium businesses succeed by building systems for them that help them get new customers, retain customers, and re-energize past customers.

Rob helps clients and marketers maximize the return they get from their online marketing efforts.


  • Winson Ng

    Reply Reply October 17, 2017

    Most businesses often ignore or reject bad reviews but often forget that it is through responding and overcoming the bad reviews that the business could grow. If the business is customer eccentric enough and provides satisfactory customer service to their unhappy buyers turning bad to good, their business would definitely flourish further. The difference between good and bad PR/CS makes a lot of differences.

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply October 17, 2017

      Exactly Winson, a business that sees and uses a bad review as a way to improve can beat out the competition.

      But unless a business has a way to reliably get their customers to post positive reviews online, bad reviews can give a false picture of that business to prospective customers.

  • Reji Stephenson

    Reply Reply October 17, 2017

    Hi Rob,

    Very good information. Making your clients happy by responding to them quickly, positively and giving them satisfaction keeps away the bad comments and reviews thereby creating success in your task. Thanks for sharing.

    Reji Stephenson

  • Ankit

    Reply Reply October 18, 2017

    Hi Rob
    Great post we will also starting our own web hosting company soon .Your post give us an idea to how to manage the client.


  • Lucia

    Reply Reply October 21, 2017

    Yes, it’s important to address bad reviews when they come. Answer in a concise and professional way. This can actually build your credibility with potential customers and it helps legitimize the good reviews you have. If you’re consistent with reviews over time (and great service), the good will naturally overshadow the occasional bad reviews.

  • Travis

    Reply Reply October 28, 2017

    Drown them out with fake accounts

  • Ashish

    Reply Reply October 30, 2017

    Great post Rob,

    I personally think that bad reviews are the key to improvement. Some services or products are subjective to each individual. So when a bad review comes on it might be a serious issue and could be helpful in actually making that particular service / product more user oriented.

  • Farrell

    Reply Reply November 1, 2017

    Bad Reviews are there to help you improve your products and services. Negative reviews can hurt but you should man up and take it and learn from it to help your company grow. It happened to me once and my friend criticized my services. It hurt my ego but then I followed some of his suggestions and it has helped improved my services since then.

  • RJ Jitesh

    Reply Reply November 19, 2017

    Being an entrepreneur I have dealt with such situations & I feel that reviews are the best way to improve our services. Bad reviews are often comes with bit disappointment but we should take it as the area of improvement and we should work on those things. There are people who continuously criticize but don’t really think about them. All you have to do is just give best services to your customers win their hearts.

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply November 22, 2017

      Yes and no, RJ. While you’re right about reviews letting you know where improvements need to be made, the internet has changed the dynamic. The nature of the internet is it’s there forever. Some people aren’t interested in you improving or that you have improved. They have hurt feelings and they want to hurt you and your business.

      It’s for those people that businesses need a relief valve before they get to the internet and cause a whole lot of unnecessary drama. It’s also critcal to get more happy people to leave reviews (most don’t) so when one slips by, it doesn’t look like the business is bad because the only reviews posted are bad reviews.

  • Stu J Brown

    Reply Reply November 27, 2017

    Good advice and good post. I work at a digital agency and quite often clients panic over negative feedback. That’s probably the worst thing you can do. Being proactive and showing you care is a great way to show credibility, and even grow your customers! Thanks for this 🙂

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply November 29, 2017

      Hey Stu,
      Glad you liked it and it’s good to get confirmation from a colleague.

  • John Galles

    Reply Reply November 27, 2017

    Bad Reviews are there to help you improve your products and services. Negative reviews can hurt but you should man up and take it and learn from it to help your company grow. It happened to me once and my friend criticized my services. It hurt my ego but then I followed some of his suggestions and it has helped improved my services since then.

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply November 29, 2017

      Never let your ego get in the way of profits! Thanks john.

  • Leo Edwards

    Reply Reply November 28, 2017

    Hey Rob
    I totally agree with your point that Bad reviews should not be buried.
    I have seen many businesses trying to post fake reviews giving the 5-star rating to hide negative reviews. It is not a good practice.
    Instead of doing this, they can reach customer directly, solve their problems and ask the customer to remove or revise their negative review. They can offer a good deal or maybe a discount. There are several ways you can handle bad reviews instead of posting fake positive reviews.
    What do you think?

    • Rob

      Reply Reply November 29, 2017

      You’re on the right track. But you need to make sure the claim is real and be sparing with discount offers. You don’t want to “train” people to bash your business and expect a discount. Once you’ve verified that their claim is legitimate, it’s best to ask them “What would it take to make this right?” You not only know what will work, you’ll avoid insulting them with a discount when they really just wanted X.

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