23 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Post a Bad Review

Andrew Whitford

Australians post tens of thousands of negative reviews every day about business experiences they may (or may not!) have had. Why? Motivations vary.

At one end of the spectrum, you have a well-meaning attempt to inform other potential customers of a bad experience they might anticipate having with that business.

At the other end are unscrupulous competitors attacking a business to try and bring them down. In the middle is big great big sea of opinions, emotions, interpretations, harassment, and a whole lot more.

At Removify we look at hundreds, sometimes thousands, of negative reviews every day. Our goal is to help business owners fight back against the bad reviews that, simply put, have no place on the platforms.

Of course, not everything can or even should be removed. What’s evident though, is that bad reviews are often a very harsh, very public, very damaging action that is frequently disproportionate to the actual (or alleged) experience itself.

Posting the bad review takes only moments, but left untouched, it can tarnish that business forever.

Nobody is saying that you should never post bad reviews. But like many other things in life, shouldn’t reviewers at least be asked to think about the consequences of their actions?

Keeping that in mind, here are 23 questions that business owners might like reviewers to ask themselves before launching into a bad review.

Is there another way to handle this other than public criticism of the business?

Did you first speak with the owner or management of the establishment before deciding that a public review is appropriate?

Have you ever tried running your own business?

Have you ever made mistakes in your own business life or career? Were you publicly criticized for those mistakes? Is that public criticism posted on the internet for everyone to see for the rest of your life?

What percentage of this business’ livelihood should they lose because of the emotion you’re feeling right now? Enough to make them suffer for weeks, months, maybe longer?

What if they need to let go of one of their employees, unrelated to your experience, because of the business they lose after your review costs them new customers?

If the experience was so bad that you do want the business to suffer, are you taking it up with official channels like the ACCC, Food Safety & Standards, the Ombudsman, etc? If not, why not? If you were ripped off, or made sick, and want other people to avoid that experience too – isn’t it appropriate for a proper investigation to occur?

If you just didn’t love the place and decided to share that opinion – do you consider yourself to have high standards?

Is it possible that there are people out there with different standards and expectations to you, who might enjoy the place more than you did? Are you trying to prevent them from finding that out, or did you just feel like sharing your opinion?

Will you find out if the business fixes the problem, or improves its services? Do you intend for your review to stay with them forever regardless?

Will you ever give them another chance, and update your review if your experience is better?

Can it wait a day and see if you still feel the same about posting it tomorrow?

Is your review an objective description of your experience that informs others about what happened? Or have you jumped straight to a conclusion or judgement?

Is it inevitable that every future customer of this business will have exactly the same experience as you? 

And finally…

What if you’re wrong?

Been on the wrong end of an unfair review? Reach out and let us see if we can help!