The Do’s and Don’ts of handling negative reviews

Lauren Hetherington

Unfortunately, handling negative reviews is an unavoidable part of running your aesthetics business. Reviews are so important when it comes to bringing in new customers and maintaining regulars. In the aesthetics business, reputation is everything. Potential customers need to have proof that your company provides effective, safe, and professional treatments. 93% of consumers claim that online reviews dictate their ultimate buying decision. Testimonials and reviews help to set you apart from your competitors; they add a personal touch to your brand and make potential customers feel that they can trust your expertise and knowledge.

Negative reviews are inevitable. Sometimes mistakes happen; you might double book an appointment or get the customer’s name wrong, they might dislike the results of one of your skincare products or treatments etc. There are a billion reasons why people leave negative feedback, but it isn’t the actual feedback that will majorly impact on your business, it is how you deal with the situation that matters most.


What Not To Do

Everyone receives negative reviews from time to time and it is completely manageable if you follow our advice.

Here are the main don’ts of handling negative reviews:

1) Don't Panic!

Stressing about the situation and over analysing everything will only make it harder to cope with.

2) Don't Ignore the Review

Sadly, if you ignore the negative reviews, they will not just magically disappear. Ignoring your customers is likely to make them angrier and more displeased; it also suggests that your business does not care about its customers after they have bought their treatment or product.

3) Don't Blame the Customer

The customer is always right. Of course, you should never take abuse from your clients, but sometimes you do have to bite your tongue when dealing with rude customers. Getting drawn into the blame game will simply upset the customer even further, and make you appear unprofessional.


4) Don't React Immediately

When someone attacks your business, you may initially feel emotional. Responding in the heat of the moment can lead you to get defensive and bite back at the customer. This will only make the situation worse and more difficult to resolve.

5) Don't Take It Personally

At the end of the day, you are running a business. The negative review is not a reflection of you as an individual. If you address the review as though it is a personal attack, you may find yourself in a nasty online battle.

What to Do?

Often, the way that you deal with feedback is indicative of whether or not a customer will return and whether they will recommend your clinic to their friends and family. 

Here are the main do’s of handling negative reviews:

1) Do Keep Calm and Carry On

Assess the situation and try to take some deep breaths. Focus on what you want to say and how you are going to say it; write a few drafts of your response before sending it.

2) Do Take a Moment

Instead of replying straight away, when you are at your emotional peak, make yourself a cuppa and gather your thoughts. 


3) Do Respond Quickly

Although you shouldn’t respond immediately, you should nip it in the bud as soon as possible.  53.3% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. Once you have had a chance to digest the negative feedback, you need to respond promptly because you don’t want the customer to feel ignored or unheard. This will ensure that the customer feels listened to and, in most cases, it minimises any permanent damage to the relationship.

4) Do Respond Publicly and Privately

This may seem confusing, how can you respond in public and in private? Once you see the negative review, respond online to acknowledge their bad experience, but without going into too much detail. This shows other customers that you don’t just respond to positive feedback and that you want to preserve your client relationships. 44.6% of consumers admit that they’re more likely to visit a business who address their negative reviews. Once you have apologised to the person who left the negative review, ask them to discuss the issue in private. This way, you can have an in-depth conversation without getting into the specific details of the negative review. Taking the issue away from public view also demonstrates that you genuinely want to resolve the problem.

Should you Request Removal of Review?

Generally, the answer is no.

Customers are entitled to their own opinion and if you allow reviews on your site, you have to be prepared for occasional negativity. However, if a customer’s review is misleading or untrue, you are within your rights to request a removal. If you have resolved an issue with a customer, you can also contact them and ask them if they would mind amending their review or taking it down.

How to Strike the Right Tone?

As previously discussed, getting defensive whilst responding to negative feedback is a bad idea. The aim of your response is to neutralise the situation and resolve the customer’s issue; ultimately, you want to get the customer back on side. The tone of your response should convey both empathy and professionalism. Sympathise with their problem and apologise for their bad experience. Although it may not be the company’s fault, the customer will still appreciate your apology. There needs to be a balance between professionalism and authenticity; no one wants an apology from someone who seems to be reading from a script. By taking this approach, there is a good chance that the customer issue can be resolved and they might even take down their negative review.

Negative reviews are not the end of the world. If you stick to your company values and handle these situations with confidence, kindness and professionalism, negative feedback is not going to affect your business.

Negative reviews

Knowing the ins and outs of handling difficult situations is key to marketing your business. If you want to find out how we can grow your aesthetics business, book a free consultation today.