How to handle a negative company review

By Foundersociety (Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune)

Q: How should I handle a bad review of my company?

A: Be proactive. “Mistakes happen. If it’s a public negative review, respond immediately and try to take the conversation offline. Most importantly, learn from the errors and look to improve processes. Try a proactive approach. Contact all clients/customers to learn their gripes before they go public. This gives your team enough time to fix what’s broken.”

— Rich Dematteo, Bad Rhino

A: Reach out to customers for good reviews. “After you’ve carefully read through the review, responded and learned from it, make sure that you seek out good reviews. Email specific customers you know who are happy with your business and ask them to write a positive review. The worst thing that you can do is let that one bad review stand alone. Make sure you surround it with lots of good reviews.”

— Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli

A: Take it to heart. “A bad review is your best source of information. For every one bad review there are many others that think the same but don’t take the time to say anything. Address the review so that others see you are listening and tell the customer you are working hard to improve things. Then, do what you can to make changes so that future reviews are positive.”

— Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

A: Use it to measure improvement. “You will make mistakes at times, and customers might just not be happy, even if you think you delivered. What’s most important is to take a look at the customer experience and see if there are any gaps or opportunities to improve it overall. Whether it’s the customer expectations, buying experience or post-purchase process, use that bad review as a benchmark for improvement.”

— Thomas Edwards, The Professional Wingman

A: Respond and listen. “The worst thing you can do with a bad review is let it hang out on the Internet with no response. Ask the customer what went wrong and really listen to what he or she is saying. Do what you can to remedy the situation. Then ask yourself if there is any validity to the complaint, and put a plan in place to fix the gap.”

— Nailah Blades-Wylie, Wylie & Co.

A: Respond personally. “If there is any truth to it, then it’s important to consider what you could do differently to prevent this kind of situation in the future. Don’t internalize the negativity; instead, listen to what the reviewer is trying to say. Respond to the reviewer personally and/or publicly. Sometimes, a negative experience can be turned around with kind and considerate customer service.”

— Jaime Derringer, Design Milk

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