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The wrong way to handle a bad review

I wanted to return a Christmas present that I bought from a third-party seller on Amazon. It was the usual bad story: They wouldn’t respond to my emails, then it took weeks to get a return authorization, then they wanted me to pay $25 postage for the return and a $28 restocking fee.

So I wrote a negative review (after corresponding with their people).

Surprise — they’re suddenly all nice and apologetic and happy to take my return and waive the fees.

Guess what? They still lost the customer. The negative experience won’t go away.

Negative reviews aren’t the result of a single grouchy customer that has to be “dealt with”.

Negative reviews are a sign that something is screwed up at your company. One negative review probably means you have 50 people angry over the same issue.

A focus on quieting the complainers means that you’ve missed the point.

Fixing the fundamental problem is your real job.

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  1. JR Fent September 23, 2013 at 12:33 am #

    Andy, I know you were taking the buyers angle on this (and I’m taking the seller) – but I wish more sellers would just put themselves into the shoes of the buyer.

    I think that (as the seller) you need to talk with the unhappy customer/client DIRECTLY. Find out what would have made them feel that they had received 5 star service. Then use the info to fix the problem so that no other customer/client has the same issue with your company.

    This kind of intel and course correction (coupled with a refund) may seem like a loss – but if it really represents what 50 clients feel about you – it’s worth much more to cut your losses and please the customer.

    -JR Fent

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