7 Steps to Convert Negative Reviews into Opportunities

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Dealing with negative reviews can be a challenge, but it’s essential to address them effectively to protect your company’s reputation. Remember, negative reviews can help your business grow and improve if you handle them well.

I once had a customer leave a scathing review because there was a glitch in the download, and they never got their product.

I apologized profusely, explained what happened, sent them the product and added a bonus product for their time and frustration. They became one of my best customers and still buy from me today.

Another customer didn’t like the product at all. When I dug deeper, I found out their expectations were completely different from what I was offering. They wanted a done-for-you solution while I was teaching the method to do it themselves.

I then offered to perform the service for them, charging appropriately, and they changed their review from one star to a glowing 5 start review. (Between you and me, I outsourced the service rather than doing it myself and I still made a profit.)

Here are 7 steps to respond to negative reviews and turn things around:

Stay Professional: When you encounter a negative review, it’s natural to feel upset or defensive. However, it’s crucial to remain calm, respectful, and professional in your response. Avoid confrontational language at all costs. Take a few deep breaths and if you need to, walk around your house to calm down before replying.

Personalize Your Responses: Tailor your replies to each specific negative review. Using generic responses may come across as insincere and only make them angrier. Show the customers that you genuinely care about their concerns.

Respond Promptly: Time is of the essence. Aim to respond to negative reviews within 24 hours. This demonstrates your commitment to addressing issues and shows potential customers that you value feedback.

Show Empathy: Put yourself in the shoes of the dissatisfied customer and empathize with their experience. Take responsibility for any mistakes or issues mentioned, even if you think they are unfounded. Remember, others will be watching how you handle the situation.

Offer Solutions: Address the reviewer’s concerns directly and offer solutions to their problems. If an immediate solution isn’t available, provide contact details so they can reach out to you for further assistance. Sometimes I will offer the choice of two different solutions, depending on the circumstances.

Highlight the Positive: Don’t miss the chance to showcase the positive aspects of your business in your responses. Reinforce the quality of your products or services and the value you provide to customers.

Follow Up: After responding to a negative review, don’t forget to follow up with the reviewer through phone or email if possible. Ensure their concerns have been adequately addressed. If the issue is resolved, politely ask if they would consider updating their review.

Try to think of negative reviews as an opportunity to get a customer for life while making additional sales from those who are watching how you perform when dealing with an upset customer. By handling bad reviews professionally and proactively, you can turn dissatisfied customers into loyal advocates. Embrace feedback, learn from it, and use it to make positive changes to your business.

The Ultimate Testimonial

I read that Match.com founder Gary Kremen designed the site with women in mind. But the exact moment he knew his venture was a success was when his own girlfriend left him for another man she met on Match.

Which makes me wonder… did he design the site secretly hoping she would find someone else and leave?

But more to the marketing point, I don’t know if Kremen ever used this ‘testimonial’ in his marketing, but just imagine if he did:

“This @#$% site works so well I lost my %$#@ girlfriend to one of my customers!”

What a great story to tell in interviews.