Negative Reviews? Blame Your Best Customers

yelp negative reviewsThere is no worse feeling for a business owner than finding a negative review on or another review site. Most of the time, it may seem like the right idea to brush the reviews off or even sue the person who wrote them, because negative reviews can often seem mean-spirited or motivated by a desire to promote a competitor. According to NBC, however, the most negative online reviews come from loyal customers.

When Loyal Customers Strike

It seems counterintuitive that your most loyal customers could be the ones who write the worst things about your company, but the Kellogg School of Management says otherwise. They have determined that the most negative online reviews are often written by devoted customers who are unhappy with a decision that the company may have made. In a quest to be listened to, they take to the internet to write some of the vilest reviews imaginable – often about products that they have never used.

Find a Fake Review

The Kellogg School of Management determined that these fake reviews written by loyal customers had several tells. First, they tended to have longer word counts as well as signals of deception, like irrelevant mentions of family members, lengthy anecdotes and unnecessary punctuation!!!!!!!  Most importantly, these fake reviews used language that was directed at the company instead of to other customers.

If you have found yourself facing negative reviews that say things like “Go back to the way things were when ___” or “It was better when ____”, you may have an angry loyal customer on your hands. If so, it is very important that you handle the negative review with care. Take the time to respond kindly and inform the reviewer that you will do what you can to rectify the situation that has displeased them so much. After all, you may lose a loyal customer if you do not respond to the review adequately. With the right response, they might even consider removing their negative review.

How have you dealt with negative reviews? Have any of them been written by loyal customers who were upset over a decision that your company had made?

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A teacher by trade, Elizabeth LaBelle graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2011. After specializing in Political Science and Francophone Studies with a minor in Korean, the only tangible skill she can show for it is the ability to write in all three languages. Elizabeth never thought she would get paid to write in any language – but after four years washing dishes in an industrial kitchen and a year selling office supplies door-to-door, nothing surprises her. When she’s not writing or teaching, Elizabeth coaches high school debate and forensics. Her hobbies include thoroughbred racing, competitive pool playing and hunting for the perfect Chicago apartment.

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