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How To Respond To Bad Reviews (With Examples)

how to respond to bad reviews

Did you know that 90% of people say online reviews heavily influence their purchasing decisions? That’s almost everyone!

Suffice it to say maintaining your online reputation is critical. So, what do you do when you receive a bad review? How do you respond?

Read on as we answer these questions with examples of responses you can use at your attraction's venue.

How to respond to bad reviews

Before we get into the templates you can use in your responses to bad reviews, let’s first look at some things to remember when formulating your responses.

1. Ensure you have the right tools in place to help capture and respond to guest feedback

A guest feedback collection tool, like ROLLER’s GX Score, is invaluable for effectively collecting and actioning guest feedback.

The GX Score collects and analyzes guest feedback for you. Additionally, it provides insights into the areas of your venue/ experience that worked well and the areas your guests didn’t like so much. For example, it asks for your guests' general feedback and for them to rate you in four areas: service, facilities, value, and safety.

With all of this information, you will know exactly how to rectify any negative reviews you receive and where improvements may be required in the future.

2. Understand the context around your guests’ feedback

Don’t take your guests’ reviews at face value — look deeper.

When did they visit? Suppose it was during a busy period, and they mentioned that they felt the experience did not give them value for money due to overcrowding. In this case, they may not consider coming back, so to make up for their experience, you could offer a heavily discounted or free ticket for them to return.

And in the interim, have a look at how your staff and systems are helping or prohibiting guests from coming and queues from flowing.

3. Show appreciation for ALL guest feedback

All feedback is good because it helps you grow. It also takes valuable time out of your guests' day to leave you feedback, so it is good to appreciate them for doing this.

Whatever kind of feedback your guests leave, thank them for taking the time to do so. You will make your guests feel valued and like you are committed to continually improving.

It leaves a great impression in the minds of your guests and, in fact, others who come across your venue online too. They will look at your reviews and see how respectfully you treat your guests, regardless of the type of review that has been left.

4. Address your guests by name and apologize for any wrongdoing

Guests like to be addressed by their names as the response feels personalized. Similarly, they expect an apology for their trouble.

Read the review, understand the context, and apologize accordingly. Sometimes, it also helps if a voucher/discount accompanies your apology. We will discuss how to do this tactfully in the table below.

Common examples of bad reviews (and how to respond)

1. “The service from the staff at your venue was disappointing.”

How to respond

“Hi [guest name], thank you for your feedback. I noticed you visited our venue today and were unhappy with our team members’ service.

We always strive to provide excellent service and are very sorry that we did not meet your expectations today.

We’d love the chance to make it right and will be in touch shortly.”

2. “The wait times/ queues were too long.”

How to respond

“Hi [guest name], thank you for your feedback. I noticed you visited our venue today and were unhappy with the wait times.

We work hard to ensure that our entry process is efficient, and we are sorry that you did not have this experience with us.  

We apologize for the inconvenience caused to you and would love the opportunity to make things right. One of our team members will be in touch with you shortly to see if there’s anything we can do to rectify the situation.”

3. “I don’t think the experience provided was worth the money.”

How to respond

“Hi [guest name], thank you for your feedback. I noticed you visited our venue today and did not think you received value for money.

I want to apologize for not meeting your expectations. If it’s okay, we will reach out to you shortly to rectify this. We would love to learn from your experience and implement your feedback.”

4. “Your venue was too crowded when I attended.”

How to respond

“Hi [guest name], thank you for your feedback. I noticed you visited our venue today and felt it was too crowded.

I apologize for not meeting your expectations and that you couldn’t enjoy yourself properly at our venue because of this.

We hope it’s okay for one of our team members to contact you and attempt to rectify the situation. We will be in contact shortly, but please let us know if there’s anything else we can do.”

Negative reviews happen, but your response makes all the difference

Even the most successful venues can’t avoid negative reviews — they’re a part of running a business. But you can control how you respond to them.

Before answering, ensure you understand the full context around your guests' feedback and show appreciation for your guest sparing their time to leave you a review.

And when you respond, do so calmly and constructively, and ask further questions of your guests if you need more information. Remember that responding to your guests' negative reviews can be the difference between a critic returning and turning into a fan, or a critic who stays angry and criticizes your venue.

Learn more about the GX Score and how it can help you collect, analyze, manage, and reduce negative reviews.