Handling Negative Reviews & Feedback

Zwielicht

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I can't say I'm surprised at how many people I see who don't know how to handle negative reviews. I mean, sure, I doubt any of us particularly enjoy receiving negative reviews, but they aren't the end of the world. On the contrary, negative reviews can even a great opportunity to showcase your professionalism to prospective customers. After all, how you treat your customers when they're angry says a lot about who you are as a business owner.

Now, I'm not going to get into how to prevent negative reviews today since it's not possible to please everyone, among other reasons. Rather, I'm going to go over how to handle existing negative reviews you might have on your iTrader profile or on your marketplace thread.

Handling Negative Reviews

Don't Get Angry

Well, it's fine if you get angry, just don't lash out at your customer. Anything you do or say to a customer after they leave a negative review can be used against you (as you can see, I've been watching too many cop videos lately).

In general, you should keep the following in mind before responding to a negative review:

Don't:
  • Don't resort to name-calling, even if your customer has resorted to this.
  • Don't threaten your customer. You will receive an infraction for this.
  • Don't submit reports calling the review fake when you know it's real.
  • Don't pretend the customer wasn't ever your client when you know they were.
  • Don't offer them a free trial/version of your service. While I've seen this work on occasion, I've seen it fail more often than not. After all, if they thought your service was garbage, why would they want more of it, even for free?
Do:
  • Respond professionally.
  • Be patient with them. Not all reviews can be removed overnight.
  • Acknowledge their issues.
  • Take the issues they highlighted seriously.
  • Consider using their feedback to improve your business.
Bury The Negative Review With Real Positive Reviews

"Real" is the key word here, and those of you who do reactive online reputation management are familiar with this tactic because sometimes, you just can't get a customer to remove or edit their negative review.

To clarify, I'm not just telling you not to use fake positive reviews because I don't want to see the forum flooded with fake positive reviews (seriously, don't do that). I'm telling you this because nothing beats a genuine positive review from a happy client. Everything about a genuine review is superior to a shoddy fake positive review, from the tone of the review to the job-well-done feeling it leaves you with. For instance, there's a review one of my clients left me on my Google MyBusiness listing that was absolutely exquisite. I could've never written about our business relationship the way he did, and to this day, his review is still getting me contact requests.

Reach A Compromise

When all else fails, consider reaching a compromise with your disgruntled customers. For example, there have been times in the past where I've offered clients refunds after I said I didn't do refunds. There was even one time where I went as far as offering to help find one of my displeased clients a different business to work with (ha, let one of my competitors deal with them instead).

Ask A Moderator To Help You Mediate The Situation

If a buyer is threatening to take their concerns to the shit list section, you can try to resolve the issue over a private conversation before it goes public. Some of us moderators even mediate these situations and try to help buyers and sellers reach a conclusion that leaves both parties happy.

However, keep in mind that moderators aren't here to be used as crutches for your poor business management skills. It's more important that you learn how to address negative reviews yourself, because if you receive a negative review outside of the forum, we can't help you
 

BeastMoney

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Awesome post. Should be helpful considering I'm releasing a BST soon.
 

Jeepy

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There would be more negative (REAL) reviews on BST if it would not be dangerous. Once I left a negative review on one BST here and I got a quite huge blast of viagra links for a whole week. Especially when talking about review copies. They should write - please leave only positive review even when my service is shit.
 
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Beautiful write-up with some very good points. Especially the “Don't resort to name-calling, even if your customer has resorted to this” part.

Well done and keep threads like this coming!
 

davids355

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Think about this as well - reviews are not just for your customers, they are for you - because reviews are a real insight from your clients about your services. If you receive a negative review, its a chance to make positive changes based on that review and that makes your business better - happier customers = more customers.

Imagine an even worse scenario than a negative review - your customers are unhappy with the services you are providing, but they don't let you know about it. In this case your business will gradually crumble.
 
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krishnaverma

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My experience had been good in most of the cases. I encountered some issues and it was only when I let the buyer pay full amount after work was done.
 

laur.laurix

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Latelly more and more scammy sale threads are approved on bhw...
 

MisterF

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There would be more negative (REAL) reviews on BST if it would not be dangerous. Once I left a negative review on one BST here and I got a quite huge blast of viagra links for a whole week. Especially when talking about review copies. They should write - please leave only positive review even when my service is shit.

I'd be interested to see more info on that.

I tend to use a couple of unimportant test sites to use when reviewing services, then if the services are good enough to use on sites I care about, then I'll reorder.


Regarding the Shitlists, these are here to protect both buyers and sellers - It's not all one way traffic.
 

Jeepy

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I'd be interested to see more info on that.

I tend to use a couple of unimportant test sites to use when reviewing services, then if the services are good enough to use on sites I care about, then I'll reorder.


Regarding the Shitlists, these are here to protect both buyers and sellers - It's not all one way traffic.

It was ~year ago. Since then I tend to focus on good things or if i'm writing something bad then i'm writing it in PM. I think the seller is not seling here anymore because after my review he got maybe few sales per week lol :D
 

krishnaverma

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There would be more negative (REAL) reviews on BST if it would not be dangerous. Once I left a negative review on one BST here and I got a quite huge blast of viagra links for a whole week. Especially when talking about review copies. They should write - please leave only positive review even when my service is shit.
One of the member here was banned just because he gave a threat to do negative SEO. In you case, this was actually done. You should always toward such cases to staff and they will check if something can be done.
 

Zwielicht

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I didn't have time earlier to respond to this thread, so I'm responding now.

Also, this thread was for sellers who want to know how to handle negative reviews, not for buyers who want to know how to handle or avoid bad sellers. I have a thread for buyers here: https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/avoiding-scams-staying-safe-on-black-hat-world.884947/
There would be more negative (REAL) reviews on BST if it would not be dangerous. Once I left a negative review on one BST here and I got a quite huge blast of viagra links for a whole week. Especially when talking about review copies. They should write - please leave only positive review even when my service is shit.
It's always unfortunate when that happens and I've heard buyers complain about it in the past. I get that they're scared of having their websites deindexed, although if a seller threatens their buyer with negative SEO/negative ORM, the buyer is always welcome to PM me or any other moderator about it. I would even wait a couple of weeks before taking action on the seller just so they're less likely to figure out who sent in the report.
Latelly more and more scammy sale threads are approved on bhw...
If you feel that way, you should open up a thread in the forum suggestions and feedback section. https://www.blackhatworld.com/forums/forum-suggestions-feedback.26/
One of the member here was banned just because he gave a threat to do negative SEO. In you case, this was actually done. You should always toward such cases to staff and they will check if something can be done.
Yeah, that was @blackpayman733. He received an infraction, got temp banned, shit listed, and his marketplace threads were closed. He got permanently banned later on because he resorted to breaking some major rules on the forum to milk the forum for sales.
 
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phantasma

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  • Don't resort to name-calling, even if your customer has resorted to this.
  • Don't threaten your customer. You will receive an infraction for this.
  • Don't submit reports calling the review fake when you know it's real.
  • Don't pretend the customer wasn't ever your client when you know they were.
  • Don't offer them a free trial/version of your service. While I've seen this work on occasion, I've seen it fail more often than not. After all, if they thought your service was garbage, why would they want more of it, even for free?

i'm dumbfounded as it's common sense to not resort to the measures stated above when dealing with customers yet some people still end up making some of these mistakes.

Most of the time stuff like this always ends up backfiring on you.
 

payal23j

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True but thing is when you are right and some one give you negative review then what you have to do?
As same thing happened to me earlier, i did the task and it's correct because buyer said everything is perfect just add image extension after sending him complete file he gave me negative review with words that I send him late work. No sense if i am late then buyer need to say you are late, project is cancelled now and there is no need of this work. But he gave me to add more details which is not a part of project and payment too.

Currently he open a project which i think can do free for him because its just a 10 mins job for me. But after responding on that project i realize he is the same client for whom i worked before and he gave me negative feedback without my mistake. So i withdrawn the response instantly.
 
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I think we should make this a sticky as it can really help out sellers
I second that for sure.

Don't:
  • Don't resort to name-calling, even if your customer has resorted to this.
  • Don't threaten your customer. You will receive an infraction for this.
  • Don't submit reports calling the review fake when you know it's real.
  • Don't pretend the customer wasn't ever your client when you know they were.
  • Don't offer them a free trial/version of your service. While I've seen this work on occasion, I've seen it fail more often than not. After all, if they thought your service was garbage, why would they want more of it, even for free?
Do:
  • Respond professionally.
  • Be patient with them. Not all reviews can be removed overnight.
  • Acknowledge their issues.
  • Take the issues they highlighted seriously.
  • Consider using their feedback to improve your business.
Thanks for this great help @Zwielicht it's as precious as Gold
 

Zwielicht

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True but thing is when you are right and some one give you negative review then what you have to do?
As same thing happened to me earlier, i did the task and it's correct because buyer said everything is perfect just add image extension after sending him complete file he gave me negative review with words that I send him late work. No sense if i am late then buyer need to say you are late, project is cancelled now and there is no need of this work. But he gave me to add more details which is not a part of project and payment too.

Currently he open a project which i think can do free for him because its just a 10 mins job for me. But after responding on that project i realize he is the same client for whom i worked before and he gave me negative feedback without my mistake. So i withdrawn the response instantly.
Is this about the buyer who left you negative iTrader feedback in February? The buyer who left you that feedback is still active on the forum, so you can always try to work it out with him via PM first.

If you've already done that, you can report that feedback and ask a moderator to mediate a conversation between you and the buyer, just have your full conversation with the buyer ready.
Ask A Moderator To Help You Mediate The Situation

If a buyer is threatening to take their concerns to the shit list section, you can try to resolve the issue over a private conversation before it goes public. Some of us moderators even mediate these situations and try to help buyers and sellers reach a conclusion that leaves both parties happy.

However, keep in mind that moderators aren't here to be used as crutches for your poor business management skills. It's more important that you learn how to address negative reviews yourself, because if you receive a negative review outside of the forum, we can't help you
There was even one time where I went as far as offering to help find one of my displeased clients a different business to work with (ha, let one of my competitors deal with them instead).
 

phantasma

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True but thing is when you are right and some one give you negative review then what you have to do?
As same thing happened to me earlier, i did the task and it's correct because buyer said everything is perfect just add image extension after sending him complete file he gave me negative review with words that I send him late work. No sense if i am late then buyer need to say you are late, project is cancelled now and there is no need of this work. But he gave me to add more details which is not a part of project and payment too.

Currently he open a project which i think can do free for him because its just a 10 mins job for me. But after responding on that project i realize he is the same client for whom i worked before and he gave me negative feedback without my mistake. So i withdrawn the response instantly.

Try talking to the client again and politely ask if there's anything you can do to fix things and apologise for the inconvenience.

If this doesn't work consider burying that negative review with positive ones.

Clients are people too, you never know if the client was having a bad day and decided to take their frustrations on you.

If you're working on a service that gets lots of sales a negative review is something you're going to have once in a while.

A customer isn't going to judge you business based on just 1 negative review in a mountain of other positive reviews.
 

payal23j

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I did that already, talk with buyer through PM and MOD too. MOD given me the chance for a week even after that i ping him that please check our conversation he not said anything yet. When i asked buyer if i am wrong just give me the proof he stop talking to me.
With the same buyer it happened to me in starting also. I did the task for him and he accepted when the turns come for payment he gave me 1/4 of the committed amount and when i asked why he said you not work well. I said okay.
Again after a year i worked for him but he same while giving payment he having an issue.
When i did any mistake i accepted and asked buyer always if there any corrections please let me know as i did my best but still if you found anything just let me know i'll do the corrections.

Is this about the buyer who left you negative iTrader feedback in February? The buyer who left you that feedback is still active on the forum, so you can always try to work it out with him via PM first.

If you've already done that, you can report that feedback and ask a moderator to mediate a conversation between you and the buyer, just have your full conversation with the buyer ready.

That's true. I always apologize first whether my work is correct or not. Because sometimes it happened what you understand while working is never be correct. We are humans mistakes happen may be my understanding or maybe he forget to tell me. I did some task double too and some buyers paid me or some not for that too because they forget to tell me what need to add more on this. I asked him politely if you feel anything wrong then you have to tell me that i did the wrong work make the corrections.

He stated me that i did late work even he ping me before 2 hours that you are late, i said okay. work is almost done if you need then i can give you but need more time either i'll stop working, No problem. He said send me work once it done and i send him after completing the work.

I gave free trial one hour work, from BHW people take my free trial and paid me for that work too because i did the task perfectly. Even i said it's okay it's a free trial from my side but they happy to pay me.

Try talking to the client again and politely ask if there's anything you can do to fix things and apologise for the inconvenience.

If this doesn't work consider burying that negative review with positive ones.

Clients are people too, you never know if the client was having a bad day and decided to take their frustrations on you.

If you're working on a service that gets lots of sales a negative review is something you're going to have once in a while.

A customer isn't going to judge you business based on just 1 negative review in a mountain of other positive reviews.
 
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Zwielicht

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I did that already, talk with buyer through PM and MOD too. MOD given me the chance for a week even after that i ping him that please check our conversation he not said anything yet. When i asked buyer if i am wrong just give me the proof he stop talking to me.
With the same buyer it happened to me in starting also. I did the task for him and he accepted when the turns come for payment he gave me 1/4 of the committed amount and when i asked why he said you not work well. I said okay.
Again after a year i worked for him but he same while giving payment he having an issue.
When i did any mistake i accepted and asked buyer always if there any corrections please let me know as i did my best but still if you found anything just let me know i'll do the corrections.
If it's been a while, you can always ping the mod who was originally trying to resolve this issue one more time.
But he gave me to add more details which is not a part of project and payment too.
Regarding this, you might want to consider using contracts in the future, or if you already use contracts, add in a section about scope creep.

https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/4...cts-right-now-free-contracts-included.789725/
Reason #3: You Can Prevent Clients From Surprising You With Extra (Unpaid) Modifications Or Work
Also known as scope creep. Don't be surprised if this happens to you at least once, that is if it already hasn't. If you don't set limits in your contract and follow your outline strictly, your new client is going to take you on a ride, and I promise you that it won't be pleasant. This is probably one of the most important elements to include in your contract as many clients will try to squeeze as much work out of you as they can, and you may just go along with that work out of fear of losing that client if you don't have a written agreement prohibiting unpaid modification or extra work.

You can also use this as an opportunity to turn the tables and add a section into your contract where you can charge your client for any extra work they request.
Anyway, if another moderator is already handling the issue, I can't really intervene unless they need assistance or if they want me to handle the issue for them.
 

payal23j

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If it's been a while, you can always ping the mod who was originally trying to resolve this issue one more time.

Regarding this, you might want to consider using contracts in the future, or if you already use contracts, add in a section about scope creep.

https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/4...cts-right-now-free-contracts-included.789725/

Anyway, if another moderator is already handling the issue, I can't really intervene unless they need assistance or if they want me to handle the issue for them.
Let me send you a screenshot through PM.
 
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