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Turning Negative Reviews into Positive Experiences

Turning Negative Reviews into Positive ExperiencesNegative reviews can be a scary prospect, but they can provide a unique opportunity to improve and to bring about positive change to your business and to your customers’ overall experience. Though it can be a downer when a bad review first comes through, this feedback can hold the key to making your company the best it can be.

Sidenote: It’s important to respond to all reviews you receive – both good and bad. For guidance on how to respond to any online review, check our previous blog post: How to Professionally Respond to Online Reviews.

Without further ado, let’s turn that frown upside down!

Turning Negatives Into Positives!

  • When formulating your responses, always show appreciation to all reviewers, even the ones who leave negative feedback. They’ve taken the time out of their day to share their hopefully honest thoughts, so respond with gratitude and grace.
  • The odd 3 star or below review here and there isn’t the end of the world, and can actually help show your authenticity. Showing that you have range of different reviews (all responded to professionally, of course) can help you appear more genuine. Seeing a few less-than-stellar opinions on your page proves to sceptics that your reviews are real and you haven’t just asked your mates to rally round with 5 star reviews.
  • If you openly handle bad reviews well on a public forum, you prove that you are committed to customer service and that you care about each client’s experience enough to go above and beyond, and offer a solution for all the world to see.
  • No one person or business can be 100% every day, and as the old adage goes, “you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Remember that no matter what, sometimes people have a bad day, things don’t always go to plan, and you can’t always operate at 100% A* capacity. Pleasing everyone constantly is nice to aim for, but it’s simply impossible in practice! However that being said, on the occasions where things do go wrong, you can always try to put a situation right, even after the most vitriolic review.
  • Constructive negative reviews can also help give people a full and honest picture before they visit. For example; say someone mentions in a review that a restaurant isn’t particularly accommodating to young children, or that the restroom facilities aren’t wheelchair accessible. By letting your reviews communicate this, you’re less likely to disappoint other young families or wheelchair users who can easily select another venue ahead of time.
  • Negative reviews can also help show you where your business could improve. If you receive more than one bad review, take a note of the main points of contention among reviewers. If all of the complaints stem from a single source; an element of your service, a particular product or even a particular team member; it can point you directly to what is needed to make positive change.
  • When you’re trying to make things right for a customer, always follow through with any promises or resolutions you offer. The customer is already angry or upset – there’s no reason to upset them even more by not keeping to your word!
  • Always empathise and put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think objectively – how would I react if I were on the receiving end of this situation? Negative client experiences can provide an interesting thought experiment – what sort of things would you expect as a customer? What would you like? What would you not like? What would tick you off royally? Make a note of your opinions from the hypothetical other side of the fence and see if they point you to anything you can improve.
  • This is one that is far easier said than done, but don’t let one bad review get you down. Hearing bad feedback can be very demoralising, especially if the person leaving the feedback is coming across as particularly stubborn or unreasonable. Though it’s important to deal with the person’s complaint and try to make things right for them, never take a review personally. Bad reviews are hardly ever a personal slight on you or your team, always try to frame it as an opportunity for positive change. Engage in a small morale building exercise if you need to truly shake off any particularly cutting criticism.
  • Be totally accountable for your company’s actions and never make daft excuses or shirk responsibility. Remember that if it’s your name above the door, you’ll be expected to act like it. It all goes into being a credible business I’m afraid!
  • Remember that no matter how biting the review, at least you’re aware of it and able to respond. Many companies list themselves on review sites but never check in on how their reviews are doing, which of course leaves them totally powerless and in the dark. Monitoring what people are saying about you on review sites leaves you a step ahead of a lot of organisations.
  • Receiving bad feedback can help you put a plan in place for dealing with negative PR issues in the future. It’s always good to have a set plan of action when you’re dealing with a bad situation!

Overall, consider any negative feedback as constructive criticism. Seeing your weaknesses laid bare can be tough to deal with, but unfortunately few lessons in business are easy to learn. Every step along the way is a learning experience, another string to your bow, another valuable lesson to draw from in future. Changing your mindset is never easy to do, but if you come at poor feedback with a philosophical approach and an open mind, you will be better set to make the most of a bad situation.

Negative online reviews can be turned around if you look at them positively Click To Tweet

How do you positively respond to negative feedback? Do you have any great strategies for dealing with criticism? Please let us know down in the comments!