5 Tips for Dealing with Negative Reviews


It happens to the best of us—we work hard and do our best, but something goes awry in the back room, or a customer is having a raging bad day… and you get slapped with a negative review. That can really sting! While you may not be able to make everybody happy all the time, you can turn a negative review into a positive experience for your customer, and you—it all depends how you handle the situation:

1. Take a Deep Breath and Don’t Slap Back

An immediate knee jerk response to a genuinely upset customer (or a troll who’s never been to your shop and just wants to cause trouble) is the fast lane to more negativity and an even worse customer experience that will get broadcasted across the world on social media. So while you should definitely respond to a negative review promptly, take a few minutes out to collect your thoughts. Use a punching bag if necessary. Try some deep breathing exercises or a mouthful of chocolate and realize that this is an opportunity to step up to the challenge.

2. Respond as Quickly as Possible

Dealing with a negative review in a positive way requires quick thinking and action. Don’t let it fester for days, and whatever you do, don’t ignore it! As soon as you’ve dealt with the sting and had a few deep breaths, get right out there as fast as you can and acknowledge your customer’s pain and let them know you are there to help them.

3. Don’t Make Excuses

Even if the reason behind your customer’s pain wasn’t your fault, or if there was a legitimate concern on your side, do not make excuses, and don’t attempt to explain it away. This only leads to more hurt on the customer’s side and further negative impressions from other customers.

4. Make It Better

Be sincere and offer ways to resolve the situation to your customer’s satisfaction. When you actively seek to improve your customer’s situation and fix the problem, you are taking responsibility for the situation. Being the responsible one who takes the high road can literally turn a negative review into a positive one, as the previously disgruntled customer is more likely to relate to friends how you stepped up and made things better for them.

5. Ask for Positive Reviews

In the case of trolls or customers who refuse to be happy no matter what, all you can do is your best. And if you’re doing your best, no doubt you have customers who have noticed your awesomeness. So another way of dealing with negative reviews is to drown them out with positive reviews from happy customers. So don’t be shy… ask your regular customers to write up a blurb on Google, Yelp or Facebook about why they keep coming back! This is extremely important for several reasons:

  • 72% of customers lean heavily on online reviews when making purchasing decisions
  • Search engines like Google now include online reviews when they rank search results. So the more positive reviews you have, the higher up on the search results list you will go.
  • And obviously, if you have a lot of positive reviews (and even a few well-handled negative ones that turned into positives), this tells potential customers that you are providing a high quality product or service and that you care about your customers. That’s always the right message to put out there!

So turn that frown upside down and take the odd negative review for what it is—a chance to show them how caring, responsible and awesome you are! 

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