Use negative reviews to your advantage
I recently I wrote a blog post as part of my Monday Moves Me series and the post had a quote by Bill Gates that said “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” and I couldn’t agree more. You can read the blog post HERE.
We as professionals are constantly scared about negative reviews and we hope we’ll never get one. But it’s inevitable to receive negative feedback sometime in our career because nothing is perfect in life, and we can always have that “unsatisfied” client who can ruin our day by writing about some disappointment after working with us. Did you ever experience this?
As I explained in the blog post on Monday, you have to keep in mind that negative reviews can be actually used to your advantage.
People like honest feedback
The two most important things are: don’t take it personal (because clients are not mad about you) and respond with a positive attitude, offer to help and solve their problem.
Another thing to consider is that, people nowadays are not interested in perfection. They want to work with authentic people and brands, and the fact that you have some negative reviews shows you’re real. When people see a mix of good and bad reviews are more attracted to that particular business because they see honest feedback.
When you receive a negative review or complaint about your services or products, take the time to analyze the entire review and try to understand what didn’t work.
Maybe the client is asking for a refund, maybe he or she is depicting you as a horrible professional, or other reasons. Now, this doesn’t mean you’re doing a horrible job, it means that the client was not happy with your company.
Did you overlook some important details? Did you neglect your client during the planning process? Did you argue with her? Did you overpromise and underdeliver? Maybe we’re talking about a mismatched expectation.
The unhappy client might just have been a bad fit for your business and there’s really nothing to do here. This is why I always stress out the fact that you need to choose your clients, not the other way around. You have to make sure that you and your client get along well, respect each other, and have things in common. A mismatched working relationship will increase stress, disappointment and, ultimately, negative feedback.
What if the review is fake?
Yes, it happened to a colleague of mine years ago. She received a really bad review on Yelp out of the blue and the person who left the bad review wrote about very detailed circumstances where my colleague – the planner – did a horrible job. My colleague who is a good friend of mine read that review multiple times trying to remember who that bride was, but she got more and more sure that she had never worked with that person. And she couldn’t remember any of the situations that the person had described. So, she contacted Yelp and asked them to take the review down. Of course, it was not so easy – Yelp opened an investigation and, after about a month, it was confirmed that the person who left the negative review was not a real bride. It was a competitor… Think about it! How horrible that behavior was, trying to ruin my friend’s reputation online…
Please don’t ever do it!
Deal with it professionally
If the review is legit, don’t have it removed. Again, it shows you’re a legitimate business and it shows a good mix of positive and negative feedback which is normal for a business.
Respond and offer your help to solve the problem
Don’t hide and disappear, waiting for people to forget about that negative review you received. Instead, take some time to reflect, stop crying, let the surprise and shock go away and respond to the unhappy client offering your help. Show them you really care about them and you hope they will come back in the future. You don’t want to end a relationship without the opportunity to fix the issue.
If you received a bad review online, respond to the post.
If you think it’s best to continue the conversation offline, do it. This could be in person or via email, depending on how you conduct your business and what type of relationship you have with that client.
Your client wants to be heard and taken care of. And, even though she might be mad with something, I can guarantee you that the unhappy client will appreciate your effort and will give you a second chance if you are able to deal with it professionally and with a positive attitude.
You should be grateful to that client for pointing out what didn’t work so that you can make it better. This could mean making changes to a type of service, discontinue a product, and so on. When you listen to your clients and get their honest advice you can turn negative situations like bad reviews into positive experiences for you and your client.
Your biggest hater might become your biggest fan
Say “I’m sorry” and offer your help because you want to make them happy after all. And, if you handle it right, your biggest hater might become your best fan. It happened to me about seven years ago. It was a bride’s mother who complained I didn’t collect certain items that had a very sentimental value at the ceremony and they seemed forever lost. You can only imagine my immediate reaction when the lady called me and she started complaining about the horrible job I did at her daughter’s wedding because of that. I was ready to cry, I felt like a truck had run over me! I was mortified, and I listened to her telling me how she thought I wasn’t qualified to be a wedding planner, I was an embarrassment to the category. Can you believe it? She was really upset with me. After she told me her point of view, I found the courage to respond and the first thing I told her was: “I’m very, very sorry to hear how you feel about me and my company, and I’ll do anything possible to change your mind about the way I work. I know I have strong ethics, and my dedication for what I do goes beyond any limit.” I reminded her that I had indeed informed her at the reception that some items were not collected at the church because someone from the family probably picked them up after the ceremony ended without letting me know. She had told me “That’s OK, I’ll check with my relatives” and she seemed fine. And now, she was blasting me saying I was a horrible planner… I felt my career was over and she would ruin me publicly.
So I told her: “Let me call the priest at the church and see if the items were left there, perhaps. I will call you back later today with updates”
I called the priest at the church while I felt the world had stopped and I was thinking, “Oh my God, what shall I do? What will happen now? How can I go on?”
So, I tried to keep calm and explained to the priest that two particular items were nowhere to be found from the wedding, and he told me “I’m pretty sure the bride’s uncle picked them up, I gave them to him because he asked for them.” You know what, guys, that gave me hope!
I called the mother of the bride and told her to check with her brother who might have the items she was looking for. Long story short, it turned out the uncle was indeed the one who picked up the items and then he went back home (he lived in a different state) with the items. He didn’t say anything to my client and that’s why she had thought they were lost. She thanked me for figuring out what had happened to those precious mementos and, since then, she has been one of my biggest fans by referring me to family and friends for events and weddings. Now, this is just an example how a negative review can actually help you get more business. It just takes dedication and you need to show that you want to do everything possible to make your clients happy. Things can happen, and most of the times there are ways to fix them.
~~~ LEAVE A COMMENT ~~~ Have you ever received a negative review? How did you react?
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Holistic Precision Life Coach, Brain Wellness Coach, and Life-Work Balance Strategist for busy professionals. I blend well-being principles with epigenetics, neuroscience, positive psychology, and mindfulness techniques to implement effective behavior changes.