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15 Ways to Turn Negative Reviews Into Positive Results

15 Ways to Turn Negative Reviews Into Positive Results

So, you’ve gotten a terrible review from a disgruntled customer and are scared of the repercussions.  Now what?

Thanks to social media and open review sites such a Yelp, Trip Adviser, or even retail platforms such as Amazon, it’s easy for business owners to fear the effects of a negative review. Negative reviews can be a strong deterrent for new costumers, even more so when a negative review manages to amass a large amount of unwanted attention.  Not all hope is lost, though.

Take for example the case of sugar free Haribo gummy bears.  The sugar substitute of choice has given more than one costumer serious digestive issues. Here are some of the most terrifying Amazon reviews we’ve ever seen:

Bad Testimonial

    Despite the more than 200 horror stories and mentions of chaos in important publications such as Business Insider, Haribo’s Sugar Free “Hellbears” have managed to maintain a solid rating of three stars on Amazon.

     

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    Horrible Testimonial

      and

      The Worst Testimonial

         

        This product has effectively turned its negative feedback into astonishingly positive results and we know how.

        Here are 15 ways to turn negative reviews into positive results.

        1. Prevention is key (think ahead)

        Whether you are selling a product or offering a service, it is important to provide your customers with as much information as possible. Many negative reviews are the result of lack of information in a customer’s part and could have easily been avoided if information were easily available. How were Haribo’s customers to know about the digestive effects of lycasin in their gummy bears? What is lycasin to begin with?

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        2. Know it is impossible to please everyone.

        Haribo’s gummy bears carry a label warning users about digestive discomfort. Still, many customers left negative reviews and this can happen to anyone. The fact of the matter is this: likes, dislikes, and the accompanying opinions are subjective. No matter how much information you provide or how smoothly you operate, someone will be unhappy. Just do your best.

        3. Do not panic.

        Take a deep breath; negative feedback is a part of life.  Relax and remember it’s not the end of the world. Nothing great was built in one day and success involves a few bumps on the road.

        4. Focus on your goals.

        What are you trying to provide? Whether it’s sugar free candy or tech support, it is important to stay true to your objectives as both a business and an individual. When receiving negative reviews, the urge to micromanage or enact drastic changes can be self-destructive. Isolate the issues at hand, but do not allow them to consume you and skew your ideals.

        5. Do your research.

        Before you reply to the negative review in question, do your research.  Read it, circulate it around the company, and ask questions. Try to think of the circumstances and reasons this review was given in order to prepare a response.

        6.  Give a timely response.

        Timing is key. The faster a negative review is addressed, the more manageable the discussion.  Make information available, clear up any possible misunderstandings, and reply to any initial inquiries. A negative review can quickly be turned around with a quick response. Effective customer service shows professionalism and integrity.

        7. Listen to understand.

        Some customer reviews are more manageable than others and some clients are more willing to cooperate than others. After establishing initial contact, do not be alarmed if the response is not as warm as you expected. Simply listen, do not judge and most importantly do not ignore the client’s needs. Ignoring a negative review does not make it go away; it only makes things worse.

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        8. Ask, ask, ask.

        This is where the learning experience begins. Ask open-ended questions such as, “What would you like us to do?” or “Why do you think _____ did not work for you?” Asking for specifics will help you understand the feedback clearly.

        9. Take Responsibility.

        You’ve kept your goals in mind, provided customers with information and listened attentively. While trying to clear up any misunderstanding or trying to understand what caused the negative review, it is important that you are accountable for your thoughts and actions.  Don’t look for excuses, and don’t be afraid to admit you are at fault.  The more accountable you are for your thoughts and actions, the more credible you are. and the more likely people will want to do business with you in the future.

        10. Remember loyal customers are responsive.

        Customers who bought the cursed gummy bears did so under the promise that despite being sugar free, taste and quality would not be compromised. These were loyal customers who received a shock and openly voiced their opinion. It is the same for every other business. If a client has taken time out of their busy schedules to leave a negative review, chances are this customer is in that situation. Turn a negative review into a positive by reminding them what it is that made them choose you in the first place.

        11. Solve the problem.

        It’s as simple as that. When a grievance is legitimate, all you have to do is solve the problem. Upgrade shipping, skip to the front of the line, and send a new product. You’ve heard the grievance; now fix it.

        12. Learn from the process.

        It is difficult to keep track of everything. Negative reviews help business owners spot the few missing links in their system. This is one of the greatest things about negative feedback. Pay attention, make the necessary changes and use it as a chance to improve. Clients will notice and will appreciate an enterprise that is willing to adapt to their needs.  Acknowledge the changes you’ve made and how you got there. With negative feedback comes great progress.

        13. Be appreciative.

        The bottom line is that by leaving a negative review, the client is doing you a favor. You are being given a chance to improve, and you’re being shown a weak point and a chance to excel at customer service, whether or not the review is justified. Letting someone know they’ve forced you to make changes can go a long way in cementing long-term support for you and your company

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        14. Find the silver lining.

        Imagine a world without negative feedback. You would have no way of knowing how to improve and a complete lack of clientele interaction. No matter how terrible a review, or how difficult the customer, think of the rewards that come with staying positive. Sometimes merely accepting your shortcomings and doing the best with what you have is enough. Sure, this isn’t the type of candy you can pass out during Halloween, but it’s definitely a great alternative to mineral oil for a parent with a stubborn child. Get creative!

        15. Treat yourself.

        Hearing negative feedback or getting a bad review can be stressful. Once the issue has been dealt with and you and your team have turned it into a learning experience, treat yourselves. Plan something small to help not only your morale, but also that of your team. Turn negative feedback and crisis management into a positive so that in the future you’ll be able to reap even more positive results.

        Bree Gotsdiner the Founder of Publicly Related and a professor at the University of Central Florida recently authored a book on reputation management (Sex, Lies and Your Reputation). When we asked “What is the most important thing a small business should do to remain aware of their online reputation?” she mentioned “Tracking is the most important factor for your online reputation. I often meet with business owners that have had negative reviews that may have siphoned thousands of potential dollars from their business that they never knew about. It is essential that you are aware of your reviews and reputation and are active when responding.

        Have you ever left a negative review? If so, how do you feel the business handled it?

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        Joel Goldstein

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        Last Updated on April 11, 2019

        How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

        How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

        Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

        I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

        I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

        Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

        How Communication Skills Help Your Success

        Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

        Create a Positive Experience

        Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

        When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

        What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

        Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

        As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

        Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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        Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

        Help Leadership Skills

        It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

        Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

        As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

        Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

        If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

        Build Better Teams

        Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

        In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

        If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

        When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

        Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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        How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

        There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

        Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

        1. Listen

        Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

        Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

        People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

        Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

        Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

        2. Know Your Audience

        Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

        Here is a good way to think about it:

        Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

        You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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        3. Minimize

        I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

        He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

        Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

        State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

        The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

        4. Over Communicate

        So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

        What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

        Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

        Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

        Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

        There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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        5. Body Language

        The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

        When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

        In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

        When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

        Conclusion

        Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

        Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

        There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

        Now go communicate your way to success.

        More Resources About Effective Communication

        Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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