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Do Respond to Bad Online Reviews – & Don’t Respond in These Ways

April 11, 2023
Imagine that you are the proud owner of a charming new coffee shop in your hometown. You’ve spent years developing a business plan, sampling coffee blends, and meticulously designing the space to bring your dream to life. You’re in the honeymoon phase and excited to build a rewarding business.

However, amidst the hustle and bustle of the grand opening, a dissatisfied customer posts a one-star review of the shop online. She claims there was a long wait time, and she will not return.

It’s easy to want to respond to this person and defend your business. After all, you know how much hard work went into the opening and you understand that staff members are still getting familiar with the equipment and routine. So, you quickly post a defensive response. Unfortunately, other customers – and noncustomers too – view it as rude. As a result, you receive additional negative reviews.

This scenario is all too familiar. Negative reviews are commonplace in a world where customers expect instantaneous high-quality service. However, it’s important to think clearly and act deliberately if your response is to be effective.

 

How to Defuse a Negative Review

DON’T:

    • Respond immediately. You should not respond in a moment of anger and say something you will regret. Take some time to reflect on what you want to convey. Remember, screenshots last long after an ill-thought-out post has been deleted.
    • Blame others. If you or your staff made an error, take ownership. Deflecting and shifting blame can come across as insensitive and immature.
    • Delete the review. Never give the impression that you’re hiding something.
    • Make empty promises. If you tell a customer that you will fix an issue, do it. If you know you can’t, be honest. If you overpromise and underdeliver, you seem to make yourself a liar and can potentially add to the negative fallout.

Instead …

DO:

    • Understand the reviewer’s perspective. By keeping an open mind and looking at the situation from the customer’s point of view, you may find better ways to approach business practices.
    • Respond thoughtfully to the writer. People leave reviews because they want to feel heard. Once you have developed a clear, concise, and sensitive response, acknowledge the user.
    • Open the line of communication. If a customer took time to provide insight into your operations, offer the individual the chance to speak offline and discuss the situation. You may find the feedback useful and use it to improve, and the customer may realize she was quick to judge.
    • Consider hiring a reputation management firm. Reputation management services can help you protect yourself and your business at any time, but especially during times of transition, stress, or crisis. Thoughtful public relations strategies can improve the ways in which you communicate with the public, online and offline.

 

Kessler PR Group is a leading public relations firm specializing in crisis communications, reputation management, litigation support and media relations. To learn more, please visit https://kesslerpr.com, call 908-322-1100 or email info@kesslerpr.com.

OUR TEAM

Experienced. Collaborative. Responsive. Committed. Knowledgeable. Creative.

Led by acclaimed crisis communication strategist Karen Kessler, our team brings skills, knowledge, and experience from a winning mix of professional backgrounds to best serve our clients’ needs. Kessler PR Group’s collaborative approach means you get the whole team. Everyone on our team is familiar with every client and the issue at hand.

Karen Kesseler - Kessler PR

Karen Kessler

kkessler@kesslerpr.com

Karen regularly counsels clients on sensitive issues including regulatory inquiries, personnel matters, business practices and criminal and civil litigation. She represents high profile celebrities and entities in the USA, Europe and the Middle East. She is known for her discretion, her integrity, and her decades-long relationships with media leaders.

Karen is a frequent keynote speaker on topics ranging from reputation, career, leadership and moving beyond cancel culture. A reliably provocative commenter on reputation issues for print and broadcast, Karen has served as an on-air reputation consultant to the “NBC TODAY SHOW” and others. Her work has been the basis of both feature and documentary films.

Karen has served on Boards of Directors of public companies and leading not-for-profits in finance, health care and education. She and her work have received dozens of awards from local, regional and national organizations.

Early in her career, Karen served as the Vice President of Corporate Communications for the American Stock Exchange. She was the Director of Transition for New Jersey Governor-Elect Jim Florio and the first female commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. She earned an AB in economics from Vassar College.

Karen Kessler

Karen Kessler

kkessler@kesslerpr.com

Karen regularly counsels clients on sensitive issues including regulatory inquiries, personnel matters, business practices and criminal and civil litigation. She represents high profile celebrities and entities in the USA, Europe and the Middle East. She is known for her discretion, her integrity, and her decades-long relationships with media leaders.

Karen is a frequent keynote speaker on topics ranging from reputation, career, leadership and moving beyond cancel culture. A reliably provocative commenter on reputation issues for print and broadcast, Karen has served as an on-air reputation consultant to the “NBC TODAY SHOW” and others. Her work has been the basis of both feature and documentary films.

Karen has served on Boards of Directors of public companies and leading not-for-profits in finance, health care and education. She and her work have received dozens of awards from local, regional and national organizations.

Early in her career, Karen served as the Vice President of Corporate Communications for the American Stock Exchange. She was the Director of Transition for New Jersey Governor-Elect Jim Florio and the first female commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. She earned an AB in economics from Vassar College.

Warren Cooper - Kessler PR

Warren Cooper

wcooper@kesslerpr.com

Warren provides strategic communication counsel and litigation support to clients facing personal or institutional crises.

He has provided media training to clients facing the glare of public scrutiny; written political speeches, university commencement addresses, and policy presentations for a variety of speakers and audiences; drafted media statements for corporate and outside counsel to align with and bolster litigation strategy and crafted traditional and social media messaging to support political and policy campaigns.

In advising clients, Warren draws on his years as an investigative reporter, as well as his own experience handling media as a New Jersey mayor and school board president. Warren earned a doctoral degree in psychology at Rutgers University and a BA in English at Binghamton University. He has taught psychology at Rutgers and journalism and communications at Raritan Valley Community College.

Warren Cooper

Warren Cooper

wcooper@kesslerpr.com

Warren provides strategic communication counsel and litigation support to clients facing personal or institutional crises.

He has provided media training to clients facing the glare of public scrutiny; written political speeches, university commencement addresses, and policy presentations for a variety of speakers and audiences; drafted media statements for corporate and outside counsel to align with and bolster litigation strategy and crafted traditional and social media messaging to support political and policy campaigns.

In advising clients, Warren draws on his years as an investigative reporter, as well as his own experience handling media as a New Jersey mayor and school board president. Warren earned a doctoral degree in psychology at Rutgers University and a BA in English at Binghamton University. He has taught psychology at Rutgers and journalism and communications at Raritan Valley Community College.

Warren Cooper - Kessler PR

Donna Elliott

delliott@kesslerpr.com

As the initial point of contact for Kessler PR clients, Donna Elliott draws on her background as a broadcast news writer, editor, and producer for a New Jersey-based media company to conduct client research with confidentiality and sensitivity. Her earlier work supporting C-suite executives enables her to develop strong relationships with attorneys, their clients and other engaged stakeholders, coordinating calendars and managing onsite, remote and hybrid meetings.

Donna seeks to boost client trust and confidence, approaching business operations to help clients achieve their reputational goals. Donna’s focus on enhancing the client experience throughout her career has enabled her to use data collection, assessment and analysis to recommend and execute process improvements at a New Jersey energy company and cultivate partnerships for an international, enterprise-level staffing solutions company.

Donna Elliott

Donna Elliott

delliott@kesslerpr.com

As the initial point of contact for Kessler PR clients, Donna Elliott draws on her background as a broadcast news writer, editor, and producer for a New Jersey-based media company to conduct client research with confidentiality and sensitivity. Her earlier work supporting C-suite executives enables her to develop strong relationships with attorneys, their clients and other engaged stakeholders, coordinating calendars and managing onsite, remote and hybrid meetings.

Donna seeks to boost client trust and confidence, approaching business operations to help clients achieve their reputational goals. Donna’s focus on enhancing the client experience throughout her career has enabled her to use data collection, assessment and analysis to recommend and execute process improvements at a New Jersey energy company and cultivate partnerships for an international, enterprise-level staffing solutions company.

Erin Friedlander Kessler PR

Erin Friedlander

efriedlander@kesslerpr.com

Erin develops and executes customized communication strategies for clients. She has represented many high-profile individuals and organizations during her career and has extensive experience in working with leaders of education, healthcare, not-for-profit, and religious organizations.

In addition to helping clients generate greater public awareness and visibility for their brand, Erin often works with clients who seek to avoid or respond to reputational fallout when faced with media or public scrutiny. She regularly provides public relations and litigation support for clients engaged in complex matters including, but not limited to personnel issues, leadership transitions, mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies.

Prior to joining Kessler PR Group, Erin served as communications director and media spokesperson for a prominent religious nonprofit organization in Central New Jersey.

Early in her career, Erin worked for a public and government relations firm in Trenton, where she led multiple strategic public relations, marketing and grassroots campaigns, special events, and communications initiatives for corporate, small business, New Jersey Department of State and not-for-profit clients. Erin earned her BA in Communications at Rider University.

Erin Friedlander

Erin Friedlander

efriedlander@kesslerpr.com

Erin develops and executes customized communication strategies for clients. She has represented many high-profile individuals and organizations during her career and has extensive experience in working with leaders of education, healthcare, not-for-profit, and religious organizations.

In addition to helping clients generate greater public awareness and visibility for their brand, Erin often works with clients who seek to avoid or respond to reputational fallout when faced with media or public scrutiny. She regularly provides public relations and litigation support for clients engaged in complex matters including, but not limited to personnel issues, leadership transitions, mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies.

Prior to joining Kessler PR Group, Erin served as communications director and media spokesperson for a prominent religious nonprofit organization in Central New Jersey.

Early in her career, Erin worked for a public and government relations firm in Trenton, where she led multiple strategic public relations, marketing and grassroots campaigns, special events, and communications initiatives for corporate, small business, New Jersey Department of State and not-for-profit clients. Erin earned her BA in Communications at Rider University.

Kevin Israel Kessler PR

Kevin Israel

kisrael@kesslerpr.com

Kevin provides communications guidance and messaging support to a wide variety of clients, including those in the healthcare field, construction professionals, and the entertainment industry. He has overseen event planning and helped produce major televised events.

Prior to joining Kessler PR Group Kevin served as public relations manager for a major New Jersey health system, directed the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Office of Community and Constituent Services, and served as chief of staff for state elected officials in New Jersey’s 13th Legislative District.

Kevin’s legal and legislative background combined with his transportation and health care experience make him uniquely qualified to service a wide variety of clients. He has worked on high profile issues throughout the NY/NJ region and provided messaging strategies to governors, legislative leaders, and corporate executives.

Kevin earned his BA from the University of Delaware and his JD from Hofstra University School of Law.

Kevin Israel

Kevin Israel

kisrael@kesslerpr.com

Kevin provides communications guidance and messaging support to a wide variety of clients, including those in the healthcare field, construction professionals, and the entertainment industry. He has overseen event planning and helped produce major televised events.

Prior to joining Kessler PR Group Kevin served as public relations manager for a major New Jersey health system, directed the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Office of Community and Constituent Services, and served as chief of staff for state elected officials in New Jersey’s 13th Legislative District.

Kevin’s legal and legislative background combined with his transportation and health care experience make him uniquely qualified to service a wide variety of clients. He has worked on high profile issues throughout the NY/NJ region and provided messaging strategies to governors, legislative leaders, and corporate executives.

Kevin earned his BA from the University of Delaware and his JD from Hofstra University School of Law.

Andria Lykogiannis- Kessler PR

Andria Lykogiannis

alykogiannis@kesslerpr.com

Andria Lykogiannis serves as principal client liaison, supporting client research and managing the scheduling, coordination and implementation of multiple projects. Her background in broadcast media production and business management enhances the critical support for client services aimed at achieving reputational goals.

Andria’s background and experience as a network television technician and editor for ABC and CBS included work on the Republican and Democratic national conventions, the Superbowl, Olympic Games, the CBS Evening News, the Detroit Grand Prix, NFL Football and NCAA Basketball to name a few. In addition, Lykogiannis owned and operated a successful franchise restaurant and catering business.

Andria Lykogiannis

Andria Lykogiannis

alykogiannis@kesslerpr.com

Andria Lykogiannis serves as principal client liaison, supporting client research and managing the scheduling, coordination and implementation of multiple projects. Her background in broadcast media production and business management enhances the critical support for client services aimed at achieving reputational goals.

Andria’s background and experience as a network television technician and editor for ABC and CBS included work on the Republican and Democratic national conventions, the Superbowl, Olympic Games, the CBS Evening News, the Detroit Grand Prix, NFL Football and NCAA Basketball to name a few. In addition, Lykogiannis owned and operated a successful franchise restaurant and catering business.

Brian McDonough Kessler PR

Brian McDonough, Esq.

bmcdonough@kesslerpr.com

Brian utilizes his legal experience to provide strategic crisis communications counsel and litigation support to clients confronted with complex and high-profile matters. He has developed successful communications strategies for corporations; not-for-profits; C-suite executive; professional sports teams, and educational institutions, and has drafted crisis communications plans for large hospital networks and universities.

Brian practiced law before joining Kessler PR Group. He has defended insurers and corporations in employment and mass tort cases, as well law firms and hospitals in legal and medical malpractice actions. Brian’s legal background, robust research skills, and strong writing underpin Kessler’s work on behalf of clients who seek to establish themselves as industry thought leaders or transform and enhance their public image.

Brian earned his JD at Seton Hall University School of Law and his BA in Law & Policy at Dickinson College.

Brian McDonough, Esq

Brian McDonough, Esq.

bmcdonough@kesslerpr.com

Brian utilizes his legal experience to provide strategic crisis communications counsel and litigation support to clients confronted with complex and high-profile matters. He has developed successful communications strategies for corporations; not-for-profits; C-suite executive; professional sports teams, and educational institutions, and has drafted crisis communications plans for large hospital networks and universities.

Brian practiced law before joining Kessler PR Group. He has defended insurers and corporations in employment and mass tort cases, as well law firms and hospitals in legal and medical malpractice actions. Brian’s legal background, robust research skills, and strong writing underpin Kessler’s work on behalf of clients who seek to establish themselves as industry thought leaders or transform and enhance their public image.

Brian earned his JD at Seton Hall University School of Law and his BA in Law & Policy at Dickinson College.

Allison Perrine

Allison Perrine Bio

aperrine@kesslerpr.com

Allison utilizes her background in journalism to counsel clients through a variety of media-related needs. She provides media training, conducts research, and drafts statements and speeches for organizations to lean on during times of crisis. Additionally, Allison designs graphics and websites for our clients to help raise awareness of their brands.

Prior to joining Kessler PR Group, Allison served as the senior reporter for a local newspaper in Monmouth County. There, she maintained relationships with community and political leaders and produced balanced articles by maintaining sources with confidentiality and respect.

Earlier in her career, Allison worked on public relations campaigns for New Jersey-based nonprofits and helped promote small businesses in her community. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications at Monmouth University.

Allison Perrine

Allison Perrine Bio

aperrine@kesslerpr.com

Allison utilizes her background in journalism to counsel clients through a variety of media-related needs. She provides media training, conducts research, and drafts statements and speeches for organizations to lean on during times of crisis. Additionally, Allison designs graphics and websites for our clients to help raise awareness of their brands.

Prior to joining Kessler PR Group, Allison served as the senior reporter for a local newspaper in Monmouth County. There, she maintained relationships with community and political leaders and produced balanced articles by maintaining sources with confidentiality and respect.

Earlier in her career, Allison worked on public relations campaigns for New Jersey-based nonprofits and helped promote small businesses in her community. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications at Monmouth University.