5 Steps for Dealing with Negative Reviews

It happened…

You just got a negative review, and you are about to LOSE IT.

The feedback feels completely unreasonable, and your blood is boiling.

You want to UNLEASH on this person.


If you’ve ever received a negative review, you are not alone! Many beauty business owners have had the experience of receiving a less-than-ideal- or downright negative- online review.

When that happens, it can feel like you’re being hit with a WAVE of emotions, and while it might be tempting to jump in and rip the client apart, in the long run, getting into a keyboard-war with a frustrated client can cause more harm than good.

The truth is, no matter how brutal a review is, if you respond with a defensive, combative tone, it can send the message that you’re unreasonable.

Your clients- and potential clients- want to know that it’s safe to voice their concerns without getting into a yelling-match. So as tough as it can be to be the bigger person, when it comes to your business, it’s always a good idea to respond with a level head.

Not exactly sure how to do that?? We’ve got you covered! Today, we’re sharing five steps for dealing with negative reviews, plus a simple 3-step formula for writing the perfect response.

Let’s get into it!

Step 1: Take a deep breath.

First things first, if you receive a review that really makes your blood boil, take a deep breath, and WALK AWAY. Go for a walk; do a 5-minute meditation; play with your dog; make a gratitude list. Do something, ANYTHING, to get yourself into a calmer headspace.

Step 2: Craft your response.

Once you’ve come down to a simmer, it’s time to get started on your response. To avoid hitting “post” before you’re ready (big mistake. HUGE!), type your response into a blank document first. When you’re ready, break your response into the following three sections:

  • Section 1) Validate the client’s feelings.

    • The first, and possibly the most challenging step, is to validate the client’s feelings. The majority of clients who leave negative reviews just want to feel understood. They want to feel valued; they want to feel heard, and like someone actually cares about their concerns. As tempting as it can be to jump on the defense- especially when you think the client is being a jerk- by validating their feelings, you bring their guard down, and increase the likelihood they’ll listen to what you have to say. Remember, you don’t have to agree with their feelings to validate them.
  • Section 2) Affirm your goals and intentions.

    • This is your chance to share your goals and intentions for each client’s experience. Keep it simple, and avoid jumping on the defense.
  • Section 3) Explain how you plan to make things right.

    • In this section of your response, share exactly what you’ll do to make things better moving forward. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture; it can be as simple as opening the lines of communication by sharing your email with the client, or offering them a complimentary service to make up for their poor experience.

Here’s an example:

Hi Cathy! (Validate) I’m so sorry to hear that your experience was anything less than ideal.

(Affirm) We want every client to feel welcome the second they walk through the door, and I apologize that that wasn’t your experience.

(Make things right) We’d love to invite you back in to give you the wonderful experience you deserve. Please email me at myemail(at)beautybiz.com to let me know how we can make things right!

Step 3: Ask a friend to look over your response.

Once you’ve written your response, ask someone you trust to read it over. They’ll be able to pick up on tones you might’ve missed.

Step 4: Post your response, then pat yourself on the back!

It’s not always easy taking the high road. Good work being a badass boss!!

Step 5: Reflect.

The hard work is over, now it’s time to reflect! After posting your response, take a second to ask yourself the following two questions:

  • What did I learn from this experience?
  • How can I improve moving forward?

It’s only a loss if nothing was gained, so use this experience to become an even better beauty boss!

While a negative review can feel gut-wrenching, it is NOT the end of your career! Oftentimes, clients can be won back, and will even change their reviews based on the way a business owner responds.

Try to see reviews as opportunities to learn, grow, and improve in your business. At the end of the day, you have nothing to lose by responding with compassion, and trying to make things right.

For more tips to help you start and grow your beauty business, check out the Beauty Boss Blog, and follow us on Instagram @SalonRenter.US

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