How to Deal with Bad Online Reviews


You can’t please everybody.

That’s one of the clichés that I’ve hold on to because it’s highly applicable to everyone’s personal and professional life. I know, its cliché, but you know deep down that it’s true. Not everyone will like you, and not everyone will appreciate the efforts that you bring to your martial arts school.

So imagine a scenario where you were alerted that your martial arts school has a new online review. Excited, you quickly follow the link and to your surprise and utter bewilderment, it’s a negative online review. We all know it’s nothing personal, but how it couldn’t be? An attack to your beloved martial arts school is an attack to you personally. You’re getting angry, and you’re ready to just type away and call out to that person and say his words are B.S. But of course, you know better than to do that.

Ambrose Bierce said “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

The first thing to do when faced with a bad online review is to distance yourself from any electronic device (personal computers, tablets, smart phones) that will allow you to reply to a bad online review. I’ve discovered that the best thing to do when angry is to not say anything at all and just sleep on it. Aside from the welcome rest, it will give you enough time to remove your emotion out of the equation.

Now, with a more refreshed mind and a better perspective on things, you can THINK better. First, realize that consumers are more likely to post bad reviews when they are dissatisfied rather than post good review when they are satisfied. Why? Because consumers expect a certain level of quality that they deserve. When they get a product, and they’re satisfied, the transaction is over. No need to post any review. But when they’re dissatisfied, chances are, they’ll actually spend their precious time in typing a bad online review. Another reason why people post bad reviews is because they are going through some thing and they choose you to pass on their grief, sadness, anger, or despair. People can be jerks, and sometimes, you’ll be a target of these people.

When faced with such problems, you have to read and analyse the bad review and check if it deserves merit. Set aside your ego and your feelings and see if the dis-satisfied customer has a valid point. If yes, then apologize and remedy the situation by following your complaints policy including returns and exchanges for your martial arts gear.

If the bad review is really, 100% not true, then your next move will always depend on the situation. It’s always good to apologize, even if you’re not in the wrong. It shows that you’re humble and makes the customer feel like a jerk when they know you’ve done nothing wrong. Then, defend your martial arts school, its products and services accordingly. Yes, post a reply and don’t let it go unnoticed. When you don’t respond, that bad review will stew and bring forth bad business. It will be seen by other people and if you’re not there to defend yourself, it will likely spread and kill your good reputation.

Well, this is my opinion on how to deal with bad online reviews. How about you? How will you handle this situation?

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