How to Deal With Poor Online Reviews


Recently, one of our independent agents reached out to our alliance about a poor review his insurance agency received on Facebook. He was curious as to how to handle the negative comment that was in plain sight for the world, and his potential clients to see. This particular agent takes a lot of pride in his online presence and wanted to make sure he did the right thing by his agency and more importantly, the upset client.

When this happens to your business (and it will), there are quite a few ways to handle these situations, but there are a few things to keep in mind when you do:

  1. Don’t Fret

Let’s face it, at some point, we’re all going to get some criticism from one angle or another. Your agency can’t please everyone and that one person you can’t help is going to be the one that gets upset enough to tell the world about it. Unfortunately, in today’s society, it’s part of the new digital age where every little comment is visible to everyone.

Be prepared, stay calm and respond with care.

  1. Have a Plan

When setting up your insurance agency’s presence online, you should go beyond simply inputting your information to be relevant in the digital realm. Create branding guidelines and a “brand voice” that keeps your messaging consistent.

Your agency should have procedures in place for when something bad (or good) happens. This could be for in-person “reviews” or the online variety. Know how you want to respond and what you’re going to say.

  1. Be Consistent

Make sure you carry out your plan consistently and everyone in your company is trained on how to handle these situations. These procedures are most likely going to be in-line with how you already view customer service.

Consistently respond to negative (and positive) comments with similar messaging to let everyone know you are aware of them and resolve issues.

  1. Create a Response that Reflects Your Voice

Don’t respond in a way that isn’t true to how you run your business. Don’t feel as though you have to go out of your way to be someone you aren’t.

If you feel a more direct approach is necessary, feel free to craft a response that more directly reflects the issue and message at hand. If you think that staying very generic solves the problem, that’s fine, too. Say you’re sorry and that your agency usually handles the issue more efficiently.  Maybe even a mix between the both.

It’s your business and you should be able to answer negative criticism as you see fit. Just remember, anyone and everyone can see them!

Get some tips on how to respond to negative reviews from this article that Review Trackers put out.

  1. Use Great Customer Service

Don’t forget what business you’re in. Your agency’s purpose is to help people through customer service. Use best practices when responding to these comments.

Online comments should be treated with the same urgency and care as if it were presented to you in person.

  1. Don’t Ignore the Post

The worst thing you can do when someone makes a complaint is to ignore the post, or even worse, delete it.

No matter how long the comment has been up, someone has seen it and is most likely waiting to see what your response is. If someone sees that you have deleted the comment, it’s going to tell them that you only care about the positives and that you don’t want to deal with the negatives. Not a good look!

Be sure to respond to the review with your prepared procedure, and do it in a timely manner. This is relative to your practices – if you only get online once a week, that’s a perfectly acceptable response time. If you get online every day, you should respond within a day.

  1. Follow Through

Answering a negative review is a great first step, but don’t stop there!

Go the extra mile and make sure that someone from your office fixes the actual problem, offline. Call or message the upset client and do what you can to fix the issue.

It’s possible to ask the previously upset client to update their comment after you have resolved the issue.

This particular customer could be (probably will be) the one person that spreads a negative word about your agency that has a lasting impact on the success of your business.

  1. Learn from the Criticism

Want to take it a step further? Take the negative criticism and put policies into place for your business to not run into the issue again.

No one is perfect and people know that. Keep an open mind when reading the review and don’t take it personal. This is an opportunity to improve your business, no matter how trivial the issue at hand may be.