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How to Handle a One Star Review

How to Handle a One Star Review


by Hugh Duffy

How to Handle a One Star Review

Consumers are very adept at reading online reviews in this day-and-age. We see them everywhere from Amazon when buying a toothbrush to Yelp when we're browsing for a new restaurant to try. The truth is, online reviews are extremely critical to the growth of pretty much any business or company trying to get business (online or offline).

It's estimated that more than 91% of consumers turn to online reviews before purchasing a product or calling a professional service (like an accounting firm).

This is why online reviews are critical to the growth of your accounting practice and creating your firm name.

  • Online reviews influence your firm's reputation locally so it can become a "brand"
  • Online reviews help you show up in search engine results
  • They increase your website traffic
  • They increase lead generation
  • Make it easier to close prospects (less selling required to close prospect, more like a referral)

Many accountants hesitate when it comes to initially getting online reviews. They worry that clients will find it annoying if they are asked to leave reviews or they fear what might happen if someone leaves a negative review. Generally, we find that most clients are really easy to deal with and don't have any problems leaving a nice review for the work you've completed for them. However, eventually, you might have an unhappy client who decides to leave a one-star review. If this happens, what should you do?

Understand The Cause of the Issue

Start by understanding the specific issue this client has (assuming there is one). The client may be upset about price, an employee, the value of the services, etc.

If there is a solution to the problem they have, you should work to fix it - or take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. This is important to help prevent another bad review but also just for your overall reputation.

If you're going to respond, take the conversation offline

We get asked a lot if someone should respond to a negative review online. Typically reviews are left on a platform like Google or Facebook where you, as the business owner, can respond. We usually recommend that it's best to take these conversations offline. There's usually not a need air things out publicly. And, you don't always know about the personality of the person who has left the review. Sometimes responding publicly can just lead to more backlash.

Instead, if you decide to respond, we say to reach out to the client directly and in a non-public way. Acknowledge the client's problem (even if you don't agree with their point of view) and offer a solution (if one is available.) Let them know that you take them seriously. If the client feels wronged, offer an apology.

Let the Bad Review Get Buried by Positivity

If you're worried about potential clients seeing the bad review, the best thing to do it bury it with positive ones. Like we mentioned, consumers are used to reading online reviews. I'm sure you yourself browse reviews before adding something to your cart. We are used to seeing products and services with a range of star rating. And, we've gotten quite good at determining which reviews are valid and which aren't. Some studies actually support that idea that consumers trust businesses with 4 star ratings more than a perfect 5-star rating because they perceive it as more honest.

If you're buying something on Amazon that has 100 reviews and there are six one-star reviews, it probably won't stop you from buying the product if the other 94 people left 4 and 5 stars. If you're browsing hotels and see some negative reviews, you might read them first to determine if these people's complaints are something you'd worry about yourself. As I said, consumers are smart about how they read reviews to determine a product or service's value.

Prospective clients will do the same with your firm. If they see one bad review and 12 good reviews, they will likely be able to make the conclusion that this was probably an isolated case or a hard-to-please client. So, the best way to deal with a bad review is simply to get good reviews to bury it down.

How to Ask Your Clients for Reviews

Since one of the best way to combat a bad review is with good reviews, you'll want to establish a method at your accounting firm for getting reviews. Here are some tips:

  1. Just Ask: Many business owners that are new to getting reviews are simply just afraid to ask for reviews. Don't be! Your clients will be happy to give you a review. If you provide good service, they will not feel like you're bothering or pestering them.
  2. Follow-Up: Just like you, your clients are busy. They probably have every intention of leaving a review but just forget. If you see that a client you asked hasn't left a review don't feel bad following up one or two times.
  3. Have a Schedule: If your current goal is to get to 10 reviews, set yourself a weekly reminder to reach out to clients to ask for reviews/remind clients to leave a review until you meet your goal.
  4. Don't Get Discouraged: A lot of people will forget or ignore your first attempt at a review. Typically, people leave a review on the 2nd or 3rd request. So, stick with it!.
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Hugh Duffy, BYF CEO and Co-Founder

Hugh is the consummate marketing coach for accountants and takes pride in the impact that it has on their practice, and lives. Hugh has more than thirty years of marketing experience. Since 2003, he has been teaching accountants on how to improve their marketing and make more money from their accounting practice.