How to Recover Your Business Integrity After a Negative Review

Try as you might, your business practices won’t always please everyone. Once in a while, you’ll receive negative reviews about your products or services from dissatisfied consumers. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier to share their displeasure with the world before you can rectify the situation.

Some of the contributing factors are beyond your control. Examples are shipment delays, vendor miscalculations, and inevitable technical errors. Regardless of the cause, how can you uphold your business integrity after such pessimistic customer reviews?

How to Approach Negative Reviews

Although you might have an urge to contact the reviewer, it’s advisable to proceed with caution. Your aim might be to gather more information about their experience to make things right. However, the affected customer might still be in a hostile mood, making the situation worse. While formulating a response, remember three essential points:

  • Your reviewers are clients who might have purchased your services numerous times in the past. They might have previously left several positive reviews.
  • Reviewers are humans with unpredictable emotions and sensitivities.
  • Most reviewers are opinionated and vocal, which is why they post reviews in the first place. That means they can boost or hurt your brand in equal measure, depending on the circumstances.

While responding to negative reviews, avoid being emotional. You must never get into a back and forth with the disappointed customer, no matter how unreasonable they sound. Instead, provide non-confrontational and empathetic responses. This approach is a golden opportunity to turn their unfriendliness into respect and loyalty.

How Do You Bounce Back From Negative Reviews?

The following tips will help your business recover from unflattering reviews:

1. Don’t hide from your business mistakes

Some companies have a standard, dull response to all negative reviews, which sounds insincere to readers. They make a half-hearted apology then urge the reviewer to contact a separate department for resolution. Most times, the customer encounters further frustration.

Others employ shady SEO tricks to bury negative reviews in search engine results where other clients won’t find them. Some ignore negative feedback in the hope that it won’t snowball into a PR nightmare.

Unfortunately, these approaches will hurt your business in the long term. Diligent shoppers conduct thorough research before engaging your brand. That means they’re likely to come across the unenthusiastic customer reviews, as well as your response. Your skillful handling of such feedback might impress them more than other consumers’ positive reviews.

2. Take responsibility for your faults.

Your ego might prompt you to resort to excuses or blame the customer. Even if it isn’t entirely your fault, it’s advisable to accept responsibility and focus on providing solutions. In addition to a sincere apology, you might also have to offer a partial or full refund, faster shipping, or gifts. 

After calming the offended customer, implement a plan of action to find the root cause of the problem. This step ultimately improves efficiency and prevents others from undergoing the same ordeal and posting similar negative reviews. The process includes working closely with the quality assurance and customer service teams.

You might have to replace some employees, hire more to reduce individual workloads, and retrain others. If unreliable vendors contribute to poor service delivery, you’ll have to identify more dependable partners. These actions show that you’re learning from your mistakes and are determined not to repeat them.

3. Request help from your customers

Most angry customers aren’t deliberately malicious. They don’t set out to hurt your brand with negative reviews. In nearly all instances, they display frustration because they expect dignified and respectful treatment. While negative feedback is bad for business, it also facilitates genuine interactions with your clients.

By inviting their contributions, you’ll receive several valuable ideas to improve your offerings. Such exercises also increase their loyalty because they feel valued. If you choose this path, you must offer more than lip service. Be sure to keep all your promises and deliver on compliant suggestions.

4. Work in the best interests of your business and customers

Ideally, your solutions should be helpful to customers as well as employees. Ensure you work with a clear conscience while addressing negative reviews. As bad as the situation might appear, you must never allow it to affect company morale.

In your eagerness to create a beneficial environment, avoid the burden of overwhelming shame or guilt. Consider it one of many learning experiences that you’ll encounter and overcome during your entrepreneurship journey.

As the business grows, you’ll always bump into a few vocal and annoyed customers despite providing exceptional services. To maintain your brand’s reputation, ensure you address each unfavorable review, no matter how petty it sounds.

Final Thoughts

There are two essential steps to handling negative reviews. The first is a short-term fix that wins back the customer’s trust, followed by a more comprehensive long-term solution to prevent the issue from recurring. These simple approaches might prove more effective at converting leads than expensive marketing campaigns. If your clients feel a genuine desire to address their concerns, they’ll be more willing to refer your business.

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan