5 Ways Negative Reviews Are a Positive Opportunity


There’s no denying it that getting a bad review just doesn’t feel good. In a climate where social referral is king, what your customers are saying directly reflects on your business. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and a business can risk losing 22% of business when a customer can find a negative article on the first page of a search result. Despite these statistics, getting a bad review is not the end of the world. Encouraging transparent feedback can ultimately set you up for longterm success if you react quickly and authentically.

At Imagine Media, it’s our job to manage online communities, and the response we receive online on behalf of the brands we represent isn’t alway positive. In our experience, we’ve discovered ways to turn a negative review into a positive opportunity to open a dialogue with a customer and make the situation right. Here are five ways a negative review can be reversed.

1. Collect Valuable Customer Feedback

You may believe that your product or service is absolutely perfect, but your customers may have a different opinion. At the end of the day, it’s the customer’s perspective that counts the most, and you want to make sure you pivot in order to keep them happy. What you don’t know about your business could hurt you in the long run, so collecting feedback (both positive and negative) can be a valuable learning opportunity for your company. Once you move past the sting of receiving a negative review, within the comment you could find a piece of advice or area for improvement that your team can work toward.

2. Demonstrate Brand Values

If your company has an established set of core values, your response to a negative review could be a perfect opportunity to walk the walk. For example, one of our core values at Imagine Media is “Integrity - Trust Through Transparency.” We’ve built a culture within our teammates and our partnerships in which we encourage feedback of all types. If we didn’t welcome both the compliments and the criticism from the brands we work with, we’d be going directly against a core value. Some common company core values include trust, honesty, quality, commitment to improvement and so on, which all can relate back to the concept of accepting negative feedback openly.

3. Show Your Commitment to Customer Satisfaction

Acting upon a negative review is a surefire way to demonstrate your commitment to your customers. If you’re in the restaurant industry and customers are complaining about your wait times, hold a team meeting and discuss ways to improve. If your product has a defect, recall it immediately and fix the problem. Actions really do speak louder than words when it comes to your response to a negative review. By making the situation right or putting a plan in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again, you’ll show your customers firsthand just how much you care about them.

4. Build Brand Loyalty Through Trust

If you receive a negative review and participate in a dialogue with the reviewer, chances are you’ll end up offering some kind of solution to the problem. By following through on your word, you’ll establish a relationship with your customer and develop trust. Fifty-seven percent of customers say they would stop using a brand if they had a negative review go unaddressed. When the ball is in your court, you have the opportunity to reverse the situation to turn a disgruntled, one-time customer into a satisfied and loyal brand ambassador by wowing them with your response time to the issue.

5. Surprise and Delight with Creative Remedies

During the Big Game in Minneapolis in 2018, attendees were tweeting that the lines to enter some of the fan experiences were really long. As a quick remedy to this, members of the host committee acted upon the negative feedback by providing people who were waiting in line with sponsored gloves. This is a perfect example of how to surprise and delight an unhappy customer with a creative remedy or kind gesture. Go above and beyond for your customers by offering a freebie or solution to the bad review — the more imaginative the better!

Don’t let a bad review make your business fall behind. Understanding that a social referral holds a great deal of weight in today’s consumer world will make you more sensitive to the idea that each review has a human being behind it who was hoping for a good experience with your brand. Set up solutions and respond quickly to bad reviews so that you can swap negative feedback for a positive opportunity.

Story By: Sophie Duncan