How to Handle a Negative Review

Who wants a negative review? Less so, a not-so-pleasant feedback about your business that is published in a medium with a wide readership. A negative (usually online) review may turn customers away and drastically hurt your business. Customer surveys have found that 60% of customers form their opinion about any business entity after reading about just four reviews. Negative feedback happens to the best of them – it is a part of any business. And quite an important one, believe it or not.

A negative review is not the end of the world for the business. On the contrary, it is essential in the growth and improvement of every venture. So how do you turn the sour into sweet? Read on.

Pay attention to parallelisms in the reviews.If it is not often that you receive negative feedback, try not to take it too hard. Simply remember that we all cannot please everyone. Go into receiving negative feedback with an open mind: customer feedback is important in helping your business grow. However, remember too, that not all customer comments are beneficial. It is not necessary to nitpick through each and every customer comment. This may just run your business into a chaos, if you make changes at every turn, just because a customer said you should. The first thing to do is to start looking for similar themes or tones to the pool of reviews. Identify patterns to the complaints about your product or service. This helps you zero in on what’s critical and what can be classified as secondary. Start working on improving on the more critical issues by brainstorming with the whole team and weighing potential outcomes. The key is to LEARN from the negative feedback. There is no need to take such personally.

Respond immediately.The second thing to do is to respond to the complaints carefully and professionally. Never forget that when a customer goes to the trouble of writing up a review or establishing contact through social media, he expects a fast answer. Carefully go over online posts made by your customers. When you respond, maintain politeness and professional decorum and never let frustration or resentment get the better of you. Whenever necessary, apologize. Say that you are sorry for the disappointing experience; indicate that this type of experience is not typical; and reassure the customer that something is being done about it. You might even offer a concession in the form of a discount or premium item, when applicable. Highly responsive businesses grow in the right direction – you learn from the mistakes and simultaneously present a positive impression to the rest of the market. It is important to people to feel that their opinions count.

Finally, take action.Present a solid business by taking decisive steps like adjusting your business model, if necessary. Shifting to a customer experience-centric business model is a substantial game-changer. The significant patterns that you’ve identified from the negative reviews you’ve received are the best directions to take in executing positive changes. Failure to take action may cause a number of long-term consequences for the business, especially in the area of customer opinion. Acting decisively to improve the business is a great reassurance to your customers that you listen.

These three first steps to responding to negative reviews are crucial to any business. Negative reviews, especially those that are published, can have a significant influence over potential customers. However, receiving negative reviews is not the end of the road for your business. Failing to react appropriately to these reviews – THAT can be the beginning of your business’ end. In business, it is impossible that you will succeed in providing five-star experience for each individual customer. A few negative experiences are inevitable. Take each negative experience as a valuable chance at growth. Denis Waitley, author of The Winner’s Edge, said it best: “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker.”