Enjoying what you’re reading? Sign up now.


4 Ways to Get an Angry Customer to Leave a Positive Review

Article Highlights:

  • Customer experience needs to be proactive AND reactive!
  • You have the power to stop a customer from leaving your dealership upset.

Is all press actually good press? Recently, I typed ‘local mattress stores’ into Google Maps and without leaving the Google page I could view 30+ reviews on several stores in my area. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the negative or the positive reviews that I found insightful, but the ones when the customer had a negative experience and someone at the store made a genuine effort to fix the problem. Those are the important reviews.


They show the store cares about the customer, the issues he has, and ways the store can improve. No one is perfect. Customer experience has to be both proactive AND reactive. It’s the reactive part that sometimes gets overlooked.  However, according to the eBook The Marketer’s Guide to Customer Reviews by Jon Hall, 4 out of 5 consumers reverse their purchase decision based on negative online reviews.

So what can you do if you have an angry customer at your dealership?

  • Don’t be tone deaf. Project your tone of voice and demeanor in a sincere, friendly, and professional way. Show real concern for their issue and empathize with them. This is especially important via email. When you have an upset customer, do your best to connect face to face or over the phone. Too often, tone and demeanor over email are taken the wrong way and opportunities to fix a problem are missed.
  • It’s not an arm-wrestling match. After you’ve established tone, don’t initiate push back or put your customer on the defensive. It’s easy to want to defend your employees or dealership, but first you need to hear what the customer has to say. Remember not to take the customer’s anger personally.
  • Restate. Listen again. Introduce yourself but then always allow the customer to speak first. Listen to why he is upset and the problem that he is having. Frequently, a customer has already spoken with one or more people before you that tried to help but could not, making the customer more irritated. Realize most customers need to “vent” first before they are willing to listen to you.
  • Understanding is half the battle. Now that you’ve given the customer a chance to voice his frustrations, keep calm. This is a good chance to ask for clarification on anything the customer said. Once you fully understand the problem, you and your customer can start working together towards a resolution.


If all else fails, know when to walk away. This one may seem strange but learn to identify ‘screamers.’ These people speak loudly and use negative language. They do very little in the way of describing the problem or working towards a fix. Keep calm but advise these people you are there to help, but the conversation isn’t providing much in the way of understanding the problem.

These guidelines will help you alleviate tension with an angry customer. If you sincerely attempt to help your customers resolve their issues, chances are your reviews will reflect your efforts.

Share this Article

Customer Support Advocate, Major Accounts, Reynolds and Reynolds

Guy has worked for Reynolds and Reynolds for over 25 years. He is the Team Lead for the Major Accounts Customer Support team. Guy holds a Bachelor of Computer Information Systems in programming and has an Electro-Mechanical Engineering certification. When not working, Guy enjoys working out and playing tennis. Guy has been the captain of the Reynolds Tennis League for over 8 years.

Related Articles:

Discover your next chapter

NADA 2023: The Next Chapter of the Reynolds Story

Car buying has evolved, and so has Reynolds. At NADA 2023, we'll showcase the next chapter of our story.

Best of Connected

Year in Review: The Connected Podcast – Best of 2022

Back in March 2020, we started The Connected Podcast to stay in touch with and educate the automotive industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. After almost

The best Fuel articles written in 2022.

Your Top 10 from 2022: The Best of Fuel

It’s that time of the year again! Leaves have fallen, snow is coming, the new year is right around the corner, and now: Reynolds’ Best

used car manager talking to techs

Recon Roles Part 1: Set the Tone as a Used Car Manager

Walk through three ways you, as the used car manager, can build a foundation to speed up the recon process and avoid common pitfalls.