Gone are the in-store comment cards whose feedback stays in-house. In today’s digital day and age, customers can head online and leave an honest review about your business within a matter of seconds. From Google+, to Yelp, Angie’s List, and Glassdoor—your business could be on a number of review sites. You have to add yourself to some of these review sites, but some are customer driven. Either way, you want to keep an eye on what your clients are saying about you—both good and bad.

The Good Thing About Bad Reviews

Without a doubt, your good reviews must outweigh your bad reviews—but bad reviews aren’t as bad as you might think. Yes, reading the negative feedback, and seeing the low ranking certainly isn’t comfortable—but some of your most valuable lesson will be learned from your constructive feedback.

How You Can Improve

After you get past the shock and disappointment of receiving a bad review, it is time to remove the emotion, and take a look what the review can teach you. Yes, every once in a while you will have an unreasonable customer who you would be unable to please regardless—but in most cases, some of your most valuable lessons can be learned from your dissatisfied customers.

Try To Connect With Your Displeased Customer

While every review site is different, many allow you to respond publicly and/or directly with customers. Try to do so as soon as possible. The response can be short and sweet, but should have a few key components:

  • Start by thanking them for their feedback
  • Apologize for their unsatisfactory experience
  • Request a follow up to discuss ways to resolve the situation

When you do connect with your client, be ready to listen. Sometimes being heard is their primary goa. Offer a resolution, remain calm, and apologize for their poor experience. If a simple resolution is unclear, feel free to ask what would improve their experience. In the end, you might just win them back!

Believe It Or Not, But Potential Clients Want To See Your Negative Reviews

If a potential client is researching your company online, they want to hear what your current customers have to say—this includes the good and the bad. Yes, they expect there to be an overwhelming percentage of good reviews, but they are likely to be skeptical if you do not have some opposition. In fact, 67% of leads are more likely to frequent a business with a handful of negative online reviews than they are a business with 100% positive reviews. It’s the whole “too good to be true” factor.

Since negative reviews are often more detailed than your positive reviews, it also gives prospects a far better understanding of your business. For example, a client may give your restaurant a negative rating and review because they thought that your food was too spicy. But maybe the potential client is looking for spicy.

Help to reduce the frequency of negative online reviews, by encouraging your clients to provide direct feedback. If you have an email list, you could even send out periodic surveys—and then apply the lessons you learn to your areas of opportunities.