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Do you cringe if you get a bad review?  Do your hackles go up?  Do you worry that it is going to ruin your business and prevent you from getting new clients?

What if it is actually a good thing to get a bad review?

While everyone wants their business to have perfect 5-star reviews, studies have shown that what works best is a mix of high AND low reviews.

This article Social proof & the psychology of consumer reviews refers to some research says that “We should accept negative reviews as a way to create the feeling of a more honest, credible and an ultimately more ‘real’ buying experience. Essentially, your [typical website visitors and potential clients] will believe your positive reviews when they know that negative reviews exist.”

So while you may want to dispute the low ratings you received, you may want to hold off.

This brings up the question of whether or not to “curate” your reviews, removing the ones you feel will negatively affect your business.

Should you dispute bad reviews so they’re taken down? Will the presence of purely positive reviews make your business look better? Research says no.

The article mentioned above also says “that when we see a 5-star review we sub-consciously ask ourselves, “Can it be true that there is absolutely nothing negative to say?”

If we were to answer this (albeit rhetorical) question, the answer would probably be “no” and we would therefore assume the review to be less credible.” That pretty much says it: negative reviews make your positive reviews look better.

It is more honest, more authentic, more believable, more credible.  MORE HUMAN.  We all make mistakes.  Your integrity shines through with how you handle them.

How To Turn Bad Into Good

Is there a way to turn those negative into positives? Yes! The same article suggests business owners “respond… to the users’ questions, [add] some useful suggestions, and [include] a contact email address at the end of the post.”

There are 4 things to address when responding in a professional and courteous manner:

  • Acknowledge what happened.  Own it.
  • Explain how you handled it
  • What did you lean from it
  • What did you implement to ensure you do not get another negative review about the same issue

By doing this, you show the reader that you are an honest business owner who wants to provide top-notch customer service.  Even if the negative review stays posted, so will your response, which turns the whole situation around, to your advantage!

It Happens To The Best Of Us

No matter who you are, or what style of business owner you are, chances are you have received a less-than-glowing review somewhere.  We all have.

But it’s in the way it’s handled that truly shows who you are as a business person, and how you value your clients.

Please tell us in the comments one experience you had with a negative review, and how you handled it like the superstar you are.


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