The Top Important Lessons To Learn From Bad Customer Reviews

As a business owner, you want your customers to be satisfied with your service or product. When they aren’t, and you decide to leave a negative review, it’s easy to take that personally—but it’s also a potential learning opportunity.

It’s important to respond to bad reviews in a respectful manner and to learn from what your customers are trying to communicate. Sometimes, you may learn that you just can’t please everyone with your business or that you might need to let go of some customers.

Below, eight Young Entrepreneur Council members shared some of the lessons they’ve learned from negative reviews and how those experiences helped them become better leaders.

1. You Can’t Please Everyone

You aren’t always going to make all of your customers happy, and in a way, that can be seen as a good thing. Receiving a negative review is an opportunity to learn and grow from it, but in order to do so, you have to confront it head-on. I always try to reach out and connect with the individual and understand where we fell short so that we can A) not let that happen again and B) fix their situation so they leave with a better experience. – Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy

2. One Customer’s Opinion Doesn’t Represent Them All

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar or an e-commerce business, every entrepreneur will encounter bad reviews. One thing to keep in mind is that the opinion of one customer does not represent the opinion of every customer. Look at each bad review as an opportunity to improve your product and the customer experience. Address every bad review promptly with a personalized message, be empathetic and transparent and make it right. Often, a customer will be happy to update a bad review if they’ve had a positive experience when dealing with the seller, and if your reviews are public, customers will see that you are proactive in resolving their issues. – Ian Sells, Rebate Key Inc.

3. ‘Perfect’ Does Not Exist

The best lesson I have learned is to accept that there is no perfect product, service or company and that we cannot do everything well all the time. Let’s be honest—We all want our product, service, tool, etc. to be loved by everyone. We work hard every day to make the best out of it. But there is no tool that meets everyone’s expectations. There is no software without bugs. There is no perfect customer service team or employee that only excels. Therefore, it’s unrealistic to expect everything to work well at all times. So, those reviews will happen. What matters is what we do with them, how we use them to get better, how we respond to them, how we train our team to get better and how we avoid the same mistakes happening again. – Riccardo Conte, Virtus Flow

4. Your Focus Should Be On Where You Missed The Mark

It is natural to feel the need to defend oneself when somebody posts negatively about your company. Yet, instead of focusing on the flaws in their review, it is more productive to focus on where your company may have missed the mark. I find customers generally post bad reviews less because of the issues they had with the company, and more because they felt like those issues were not seriously addressed. As a business leader, it is important for me to create an environment where my customers can not only comfortably express their concerns, but can also then feel like the company was receptive and showed a sincere effort to address them. When people feel heard, I find they will seldom feel the need to attack a company publicly. Plus, honest feedback often results in positive change. – Eric Zuckerman, Pac Team Group

5. You Should Always Respond In A Professional Manner

One of the best lessons I’ve learned from reading negative reviews online is to always respond to them in a professional manner. Responding to bad reviews opens up a chance for the company to reach out to the customer and learn from the experience. You can try to use the review as a way to make their experience better to see if they would change their negative review. Seek to understand the problem they are bringing up and see what solution you can offer to fix the issue. A lot of times, people see negative reviews and are tempted to just ignore them or try to get them removed from the website. But it’s better to meet the issues head-on. See if you can reach out to the customer and how you can help them to change the bad experience into a good one. – Bryan Driscoll, Motivated Leads

6. Sometimes It’s Necessary To Let A Customer Go

Negative reviews are everywhere and can be found about any business regardless of how it performs. You simply cannot please everyone, and that’s okay. It’s important to learn when to let go of a customer and their complaints and when to act to make things right. If nothing you do pleases a customer, then perhaps it’s time to tell them to go elsewhere. However, if there’s more you can do to help them, you should definitely do everything you can. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

7. Negative Reviews Are Not Personal

When it comes to negative reviews, you have to remember that whatever they say is not personal. They don’t know you on a personal level, so anything bad they might say isn’t a reflection of who you are as a person or your capabilities. It’s normal to feel less than stellar about a negative review, but remember that every company has them. Even businesses with the best reputations receive bad reviews simply because you can’t please everybody—and you shouldn’t have to. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

8. Not All Negative Comments Come From ‘Haters’

Not all hate comments come from “haters”; some come from usually obsessed or happy customers who happen to now be really frustrated and disappointed with the service or product. Blocking out all negative comments could lead to you learning nothing from voices who actually matter. If the customer didn’t really care, they wouldn’t take the time to make a comment, and instead just post hate about you or your service. Read thoroughly and learn the history and where the customer is coming from. Don’t defend your company or your product or service that needs to be corrected or changed. Hear them out. – Daisy Jing, Banish

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