There are countless platforms to share negative opinions, and the drive to leave a bad review is often much stronger than the determination to share a kind thought.
Fortunately, if you have received bad reviews, you’re not alone, and you’re certainly not helpless. In many cases, (although it may not seem like it at the time) constructive feedback can even help your business grow.
Here’s what to do.
1. Stay calm – or calm down.
We’re only human, and when you’re working so hard on your business, negative feedback can be pretty upsetting.
Step one is, therefore, to stay calm, and keep in mind that generally your reviewer isn’t trying to make it personal. They’re just disappointed with their experience and want to be heard. If you can’t stay calm, take a walk, rant to a friend, treat yourself to a coffee – just do whatever it takes to remind yourself that you are in control of the situation.
2. Look at other negative feedback examples.
Visit your competitors’ sites, or the company next to you on the street, or your favourite restaurant. All of these places will most likely have received a negative review at some stage, and not only will it make you feel better to see other companies get the same treatment, you can also learn from them. How did the company respond? Did they respond at all? Is the criticism fair, knowing what you do about their products or service?
This step can put you in a good frame of mind to tackle your own negative review.
3. Pull together all your information and options.
Start taking notes. Use all the information in the review to paint a picture of what happened and why the customer is unhappy. Look them up to see if you have company records of their transactions, conversations, or experiences with your brand. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to deal with the review itself and the reviewer.
Often, customers just want to know they have been heard and that you’ve taken their feedback on board. In some cases, a polite and sincere note to apologise, explain, or console will be all that’s needed. In others, you may reach out to the customer and ask them to email you directly so you can organise a form of refund or future discount, to request more information on their experience, or even to ask them how they would ideally prefer to resolve the situation.
Note that you can’t simply remove reviews from Facebook and other platforms, although in some cases you can disable the reviews feature altogether.
5. Rinse and do not repeat.
Finally, rinse it off. If you let it stay on your mind, negative feedback can weigh you down and inhibit you from offering top service to all your other customers. Your goal now is to learn from the feedback, continue focusing on your business and take some time to congratulate yourself on all the customers who you’ve made happy over the past few months.