Scandal: How to Deal with Bad Publicity and Negative Reviews

Thirteen entrepreneurs share recommendations on how to deal with negative publicity and bad customer reviews.

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7. Embrace negative reviews.

“Embrace it! Bad customer feedback reflects engagement from your audience. If they didn’t care, they would tune out and simply not respond.  Take time to understand and engage with people who have feedback for you.  You might build a relationship you weren’t expecting.”

– Amber McCue, CEO of Nice Ops, @AmberMcCue


8. Own your mistakes.

“Be honest, polite and helpful. If you are in the wrong, own up to your mistakes and be forthright about how you are working to correct them. If you resolve the customer’s complaint and make amends, there is a good chance they will update their review to reflect your actions.”

– Chris Campbell, Founder and Chief Tracking Officer of Review Trackers, @ReviewTrackers


9. Don’t get defensive.

“Do not be defensive. Respond in a meaningful and positive way. Let them know that they have been heard, and react personally. There are always ways to turn a negative into a positive — it’s all in how you approach it.”

– Stephan Aarstol, Founder and CEO of Tower Paddle Boards, @TowerPB


10. Don’t take it personally.

“Remain strong and not fly out in the media trying to defend yourself or your company. As hard as it is, just let it go, see if there is something you can improve and look ahead. News is quick and it too shall pass. People have shorter memories in regards to your business than you do of your own.

– Lacey Moler, Co-Founder of Belly Ballot, @bellyballot


11. Outshine negative publicity.

“You can’t unring the bell, but you can upstage it with louder trumpets. This means that you have to proactively and aggressively drown out your bad press and reviews with positive media attention. Damage control takes a lot of work and is best handled with the help of professionals who have the media contacts, experience and “know-how” to get your public image back on track.”

– Darice Fisher, CEO of DFI Public Relations, @DFIPR


12. Go above and beyond to fix errors.

“Make it right. Our favorite fix is refunding the order and not making the customer waste their time returning items or paying for shipping.  We have all been there before.  For higher dollar items, come up with a solution  As long as they know you are sincere and you actually care, they will probably forgive you.”

– Patrick Barnhill, President of Specialist ID, INC., @BarnhillPatrick


13. Let bad reviews reveal excellent service.

“Bad customer reviews are a great chance for your company to show exceptional customer service. Instead of arguing with or challenging a bad review, stay calm, gracious and let the reviewer know what you will do to address the issue. While you may not be able to win back the disgruntled reviewer, the way you deal with the review itself will affect your company’s image for other potential consumers, and handling any negativity in a professional manner will only win you big points in their eyes.”

– Chuck Gordon, Founder and CEO of SpareFoot, @SpareFoot


What are some other ways to deal with negative publicity and bad customer reviews? Let us know in the comments section below.

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