Rocko Stojiljkovic | June 6, 2023

Turning a Negative Review into a Positive

It’s inevitable.

Every Marina Manger at some point will have to deal with the dreaded one star review. But it doesn’t have to be all bad. Review sites are fast becoming the most popular platform for customer feedback. 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Learning how to deal with good and bad reviews online usually falls on the marina managers shoulders. Bad reviews are necessary evil. There really is no way to eliminate them completely. But there is a way to mitigate these reviews and use the feedback constructively. There are even ways to use these reviews to increase your ranking and online presence. Here are a few things to keep in mind when responding to a bad online review.

First, try not take it personally.

The first thing most marina managers do after receiving a bad online review is get defensive. I get it. You work hard to train staff and give the best service possible to your boaters and customers daily. Clearly there was just no pleasing this customer, right? Or could you learn a thing or two about their negative criticism? Wether it is a boss, colleague, or customer, sometimes peoples negative discernments of you or your business is the only way you will learn and grow.

Second, take some time to diffuse.

An immediate reaction is not always needed after you receive a negative review. Take a few hours or days to calm down and reevaluate. Make a list of all the things that are wrong about the review and all the things that might be correct about their feedback. Focus on the observations that you might be able to improve upon. Taking time to see the big picture and really think about how to construct your response is very important. Rewrite your response several times and have a non-biased colleague proof read it for you. This helps in taking the emotion out of the experience which will resonate with the customer that made the review and those who are reading your response online.

Read more: Customer Reviews: Why they matter

Third, the response.

Most importantly, be genuine. A new customer that is reading the review and your response will recognize if you are responding merely to cover up the wound with a band aid. This is where that list comes into play. Use the list and focus on what was correct about their feedback. Acknowledge their frustration without making excuses. Then, take the conversation offline. Ask the customer to give you a call or e-mail you personally so you can try to resolve their issue. If you can reach the customer and solve their issue then GREAT! However, often, the customer has made up their mind. Here is where you can really shine as a manger. New customers reading the review are watching how you respond. And just like customers notice if you are not being genuine, they also notice if the reviewer is being untruthful. Your response is the key factor in getting them through your door after they have read the negative feedback online. The customer is capable of reading through the lines and can make an educated decision to come to your marina based on how you respond to a negative review.

Last, turn the negative into a positive.

Use the negative review to work to your advantage! Always use your SEO keywords in your response. Using keywords in your response helps how your YELP page and website rank on Google. You can also add a bit of marketing to your response. Go ahead and plug your business. Talk about some of the services your marina offers and how using these services can solve the customers problem. Don’t go overboard, but don’t be afraid to talk positively about yourself, your staff, and your Marina.