How to Deal with Negative Reviews

No matter how good you are at your job there’s bound to be one negative review that slips through the cracks. Rating service professions is more difficult than rating products as the quality of the outcome can be more subjective and depending on taste, which makes it nigh on impossible to please everyone all of the time. Of course, there are ways to protect yourself from negative reviews, great communication being one of them, but if you are a victim of poor feedback, you need to know how to handle it. We have some tips on how to deal with negative reviews.

1. Don’t take it personally. — The first thing you need to do when dealing with negative reviews is to distance yourself. If you take the review personally, you’re more likely to respond in anger, which doesn’t translate well on the internet (no matter how justified you might be). Take a step back, walk away, do something relaxing for an hour or two before returning to leave a reply to the feedback. This common sense advice is easy to forget or discount but important to remember.

2. Stay calm and professional. — If you are replying to a review, make sure you come across as professional and attentive. Ask a friend before you post your reply to ensure it answers any doubts in the reader’s mind and is polite, not condescending, and helpful. This way, you can turn a tricky situation into an opportunity to show your customer service skills and commitment to stand by the service you provide.

Man at his computer, having received negative reviews

Image: skitterphoto

3. Contact the reviewer. — A lot of bad feedback comes from poor communication. Keeping in touch with a client, following a job, can usually dispel any threats of bad feedback, especially if you’re open to constructive criticism. If it’s gone a little too far for this, make sure you contact the reviewer. Explain that you weren’t aware they were so dissatisfied with your service and ask if there’s anything you can do to remedy and turn around the situation and ultimately to make them a happy customer.

4. Show you’ve learned from any mistakes. — Depending on what the reviewer is complaining about you can usually learn from bad feedback. If they’ve blasted your tardiness, extend your delivery times or make sure you’re never late again., if they’ve criticised your attitude, take steps to improve it, and if they’ve slated your craftsmanship, consider a refresher course for a day. Clients love service providers who are constantly training.

5. Answer any doubts it creates. — You will be worried that your new clients will have doubts about using your services when reading a negative review. In fact, a negative review can actually also give you an opportunity to promote your skills, as long as it’s handled correctly. For instance, if a client has complained about communication, you can answer with something akin to, “I admit the communication wasn’t great during the week of 9/5 to 15/5 but I was on a scheduled holiday. I only plan two holidays per year and promise to let all clients know in advance if there are to be any times when I may be difficult to get hold of.”

6. Move on. — It’s easy to wallow in a bit of self pity when you receive a negative review; your confidence can take a dive while you begin to question your talent. If you’ve made steps to rectify the negative customer experience, learn from the feedback, and have addressed it accordingly, it’s simply time to move on. Put it behind you and continue to be the amazing service provider you are. Let the quality of your work and satisfied customers speak on your behalf. It’ll soon be buried in a plethora of great reviews anyway and you’ll forget it even existed!

To make sure you never have to figure out how to deal with negative reviews again, don’t forget to check out our blog post on how to receive five star feedback!

Image credit: Mr St

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