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The Flip Side of Negative Reviews: Turning Bad Into Good


Many modern consumers rely on online reviews to aid in the process of selecting home service providers for their appliance repairs, house cleaning, and landscaping needs. Consequently, many service­oriented small business owners somewhat live in fear of receiving bad online reviews.

While a bad review is never a pleasant (or welcomed) experience, it’s also not the kiss of death many make it out to be. Smart business strategists can turn the situation around to their advantage, even in the most difficult situations. Here’s how it works.

Negative Reviews Help You Manage Your Employees

If you’re like most small business owners, you feel your time during the course of an average day is stretched pretty thin. Because you have no way of being everywhere at once, you don’t know exactly what’s going on at various job sites. Even though you’ve hired trustworthy, professional employees, you can’t really know what’s going on at every job during every second of the day. Bad reviews let you know when your employees aren’t up to snuff. They can serve as an effective way to measure the quality of work and professionalism of the people you’ve hired for your team.

Tip: Take negative employee reviews with a grain of salt. Not all bad reviews are warranted – some are the products of disgruntled customers looking to make a problem. If a particular employee receives multiple poor reviews, it certainly warrants a closer look.

Negative Reviews Help You Establish Weakness in Your Business

Analyzing your negative reviews – rather than ignoring or justifying them – can help you identify problem spots in your business. For instance, if you’ve received several bad reviews due to lateness, it may be time to rethink your scheduling strategy.

Tip: Always be on the lookout for common trends in the complaints you receive. And always address them quickly (and thoroughly) so they don’t occur again.

Negative Reviews Portray Your Business as Authentic

Although it may seem like twisted logic at first, a few negative reviews sprinkled among a number of positive reviews can legitimize your business in the eyes of potential customers. It is virtually impossible for a business to receive nothing but glowing reviews, and any business that does could be questioned for it. Many of today’s internet­savvy consumers know business owners can purchase positive reviews, and they’ll keep this in mind if they see a slew of positive, too­good­to­be­true reviews.

Tip: Don’t try to cover up a negative review. Take the feedback for what it’s worth and then move forward knowing more good reviews are to come.

Negative Reviews Provide You with an Opportunity to Demonstrate Superior Customer Service Skills

You can quickly turn a bad review on its head by responding to the client with a solution to right the situation. For example, the owner of a landscaping business whose employee mistakenly scalps part of a customer’s lawn has the opportunity to rectify the situation through outstanding customer service. A quick and easy fix? Offer to reseed the damaged area and provide one (or more!) free visits to the property until the lawn is back to normal. People who read the initial negative review will likely be impressed by your willingness to make the situation right. And it could quite possible result in more new customers!

Tip: How you respond to a negative review often has more of an impact on potential customers than the actual review itself.

Get even more tips by download our free Online Reviews Survival Guide!