A multi-disciplined creative design studio

T 613.482.1159

Losing Sleep Over a Negative review?
—Part Three

Part three of “Losing Sleep Over A Negative Review” was never published until now… we’re continuing our discussion on how to deal with “Bad Reviews.” An easier way to strike up a conversation.

Remember in English class when your teacher always said keep your questions open-ended. Well, here we go again, it’s important to ask questions where you can get the information you want.

Here are a few examples: “What do you think we should do?” “Why do you think a (service, product, or dish) didn’t work?”

Asking for specifics will help you understand the feedback clearly and weed out that bored ten-year-old boy.

With a common goal in mind, you have provided your client with more information and listened to what your client has to say. Now what? How do you turn a bad review into a positive one?

  • You are responsible for your actions.
  • Don’t make excuses and don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong.
  • If your apology is sincere, the more credible you’ll be in your client’s mind.


Customers who bought your poutine, for example, did so under the promise that despite substituting the cheese, the taste and quality would be the same. These loyal customers received a shock and openly took it upon themselves to voice their opinion.

Case in point: In 1985 The Coca-Cola Company replaced the original formula of its flagship soft drink, Coca-Cola (also called Coke), and introduced New Coke, which didn’t have a separate name of its own, it was merely known as “the new taste of Coca-Cola” until 1992 when it was officially renamed Coke II.

However, the public’s reaction to the change was adverse, even hostile, and the new cola was a major marketing failure. The subsequent, rapid reintroduction of Coke’s original formula (the original formula was re-branded as “Coca-Cola Classic” and was put in the market within three months of New Coke’s debut) resulted in a significant gain in sales. This led to speculation that the introduction of the New Coke formula was just a marketing ploy; however, the company has always maintained it was a genuine attempt to replace the original product.

New Coke was on the market in the United States for only a short period, but it remains influential as a cautionary tale against tampering too extensively with a well-established and successful brand. It was discontinued internationally in July 2002.

Why is this example important. Consider this, if someone has gone out of their way to leave a negative review, turn that negative into a positive one. You’ll still have to solve the problem, or at the very least, oust a competitor, if it turns out to be Corporate espionage. When a grievance is legitimate, all you have to do is solve the problem.

In business, we must remember that we must learn at every opportunity; you can only wear so many hats before something slips through. Pay attention, make necessary changes and use it as a chance to improve your business model.

“Now offering new red colour sneakers with white souls.”

Clients will appreciate a business that’s willing to adapt to their needs and acknowledge changes you’ve made. At the end of the day, by leaving a negative review, the client has given you a chance to improve.

Learn to excel at customer service, whether or not the review is justified. Letting someone know they’ve forced you to make changes can go a long way in cementing long-term support for you and your company.

Find that happy place. Imagine a world without negative feedback. You would have no way of knowing how to improve; there would be a complete lack of customer interaction. No matter how terrible a review, or how arduous the customer, think of the rewards that come with staying positive. Sometimes merely accepting your shortcomings and doing the best with what you have is enough.

Consider this; chances are you’re not Target Stores in Canada or Volkswagen in Europe for that matter. At the end of the day remember to treat yourself. Have you ever left a negative review? If so, how do you feel the business handled it?

Published in Evolving Media Chronicles
Written by Jeff Poissant, RGD
Edited by Kevin Burns

ISSN 2562-5578 (Print)
ISSN 2562-5586 (Online)

Consider reading

Skip to content