Negating Negativity: How to Push Past Negative Reviews and Into Success

So you got a negative review. It doesn’t feel great. What now?

Everything you’ve worked for, all the success you’ve earned, all the positivity you’ve generated seems to crumble. Research shows that 88% of consumers have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision.

But negative reviews are normal. If you deal with them in the right way, they can build you up instead of tear you down. 

FORTVISION is here to turn that slap in the face to a pat on the back, so you can get your business back on track ASAP.

Cats have nine lives, and so can you. Here’s a nine-step process for you to keep your business alive and stay afloat in the face of negativity.

Let’s take a wrong and make it right.

1. Breathe.

It’s going to be ok. A negative review here or there isn’t going to destroy your business and can actually help build trust.

Research shows that 95% of consumers think strictly positive reviews are fake or company-screened. If a company is too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. Consumers appreciate a personalized feel and have human element. And humans make mistakes.

If a company is too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. Consumers appreciate a personalized feel and have human element. And humans make mistakes.

“Negative attention is still attention.”
If a bad review causes a few consumers to think negatively of you, congrats! That means they’re thinking of you!

2. Act fast.

Prolonging and mourning a negative review isn’t going to make it go away, and leaving it unattended is just going to increase the damage.


Make sure that you address all traffic related to your business—positive or negative—right away.


If consumers a lingering negative review, they’ll think you don’t care about their concerns or you are organized enough to response, or worse—both.

3. Be polite, professional and pleasing.

Of course, always conduct yourself professionally and politely. But consumers who are already dissatisfied need special care. If an unhappy consumer needs something, being formal reassures that they’ll get it. If a consumer thinks you made a mistake, acting organized will show them it was a minor slip-up that was completely out of character.

TIP: Offer to problem solve with consumers one-on-one and out of the public eye. They’ll appreciate the personalized attention, and you’ll avoid generating unnecessary traffic and complicated back and forth surrounding the complaint.

4. Move to remove.

Taking this course of action depends on the review, but getting especially hostile and damaging reviews can be an option.

Through the Consumer

After speaking to the consumer one-on-one and/or resolving their issue, they may be grateful and agree to take down the review themselves. If you think you’ve turned their frown upside-down, just ask!

Through the platform

Some comments are especially aggressive and hostile. If a consumer posts something inappropriate or violent, flag the comment and the platform may take it down.

5. Monitor

Stay on top of your game.

Make sure you’re engaged in all the conversations regarding your business online.

Resources such as TalkWalker can help track your online presence, so you’re aware of negative reviews and can deal with them ASAP.

6. Review, review, review.

The more, the merrier: the more reviews you have, the more popular you’ll be.

Research shows that only 14% of reviews are three stars or fewer. If you increase your overall net reviews, the good ones will outweigh the bad.

  • Encourage

    Whenever you deal with a consumer, politely ask them to leave you a review. Some consumers may be pleased with your service but don’t know how to demonstrate it.

  • Incentivize

    Offer coupons, rewards and discounts for leaving reviews. Some consumers are content but need a little push to express their gratitude.

  • Gamify

    Everyone loves games. Make the process of reviewing a game. Challenge your dedicated consumers to leave as many reviews as they can and offer rewards for the winners.

7. Discuss and Debrief

The key to a successful business is collaboration. Everyone needs to be on the same page, or you’ll never even have a story to tell. Make sure every employee is aware of negative reviews – particularly the most damaging ones – so you can process and strategize how to move forward together.

TIP: Create company-wide newsletter to update employees on your business, and include reviews. Make sure to highlight the positive ones to motivate, generate positive energy and reward a job well done!

8. Learn

Distinguish between aimless rants and constructive criticism. Some consumers just had an unfortunate, isolated experience, while others have meaningful feedback that can really improve your business on a wide scale. If a negative review can boost your business, listen to what it has to say, and consider changing a product or implementing the criticism into your next development.

9. Follow Up

Consumers don’t want feel one-and-done.

Touch base with unhappy consumers after addressing their negative review and make sure you’ve fixed the issue and can help them in the future. 

They’ll appreciate it, and make the next review a positive one!

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