Advocately Blog

How to get good feedback from a bad review

How to get good feedback from a bad review

Every business has their share of bad reviews. Getting bad reviews can even have positive effects on your business. It’s essential to distinguish bad reviews full of vitriol from bad reviews that contain nuggets of wisdom.

Not all negative reviews are created equal. Some bad reviews can provide useful, actionable feedback for your company, others, not so much.

We can generally separate negative reviews into two major categories, useful or useless. A good indicator of whether a review is useful or useless is whether the review provides actionable feedback.

Can you take this review and use the criticism contained to improve your business? If so, it can be considered useful, and you should learn from the feedback.

Does the review only insult the company without providing specific examples? You can probably skip the feedback.

Example of a review with no useless feedback: This review has almost no useful feedback

This reviewer published a 1-star review about Slack. As you can see, the review has very little content and speaks more to the difficulty the user understanding the product than the product itself. While you could take this as useful feedback and focus on creating an easier-to-understand, easier-to-use product; in this case, this reviewer is an excellent example of a bad-fit customer, and further investigation is likely not worth the time investment.

This review will likely not discourage many potential customers their experience was so neutral it’s confusing as to what motivated them to leave a review at all.

Example of a useful bad review: A short review worth 2 stars out fo 5 stars

This review is very straightforward; they explain what they didn’t like and how it occurred. Customer service needs improving They said they would call me back and they did not.

Nothing groundbreaking here, it provides an excellent lead-in for you to respond to the review with “We are sorry about the oversight! Our team will reach out to you today.”

Example of a negative review with great feedback: A negative review with good feedback

Now, let’s look at this second review. The reviewer gave some pros about the product, so you know they are also likely to provide some useful feedback when they get to the cons sections.

The major negative that the reviewer points out is the response time of their account manager - very quick with regards to sales conversations; almost unresponsive when reaching out for support issues.

Customer service quality/response time is a widespread complaint in negative reviews; it is also a big factor that potential customers are on the lookout. There is not a simple solution to fix a customer service/support organization; the best option here is to get the account manager to reach out to the reviewer directly.

By quickly discarding useless reviews, you can focus on distilling the feedback from a review. We have a simple framework to extract feedback from negative reviews, first of all, we recommend you get a drink and settle in.

Copy the review into a text editor Pull the review apart, Restructure it and rewrite it Separate each of the salient points in feature requests or bug reports

It’s important to take the time and rewrite the view without any of the negative feelings behind it - turn it into user stories or something similar.

Once you have extracted the useful feedback from a bad review, it's essential to respond to your reviewer. Responding to reviews lets your customers know that you are listening to their feedback and you can often come back to them with the steps you have taken to remedy the situation.

Now that you have condensed the feedback and responded to the customer, we recommend submitting the customers feedback as a support ticket/feature request/bug ticket to your team and hopefully improving your product/service/business because of it :)