Why Negative Reviews Aren’t All Bad
Everyone gets a less than glowing review from time to time. Here’s our tips for turning a negative into a positive for your business.
One of the most important factors for families looking for activities online is reviews. In fact, 75% of families have told us that it is “very important” to them to read reviews before trying a new activity, and activity organisers with ratings and written reviews are twice as likely to get a booking on Hoop!
Over 80% of Hoop families told us that their decision to try out a new activity would not be affected by a negative review for that activity if there were also several positive reviews. Counterintuitive as it sounds, customers are much more likely to trust an overall rating if it is less than 5 stars. While it’s still best to have mostly 4 and 5 star reviews, studies like this one have shown an occasional less glowing one can actually make you seem more genuine, and encourage more families to try out your activities.
Nobody likes receiving a one star or two star review - when you’ve put time and effort in creating an activity, it can be disappointing to hear that a family didn’t enjoy it. You can’t always please everyone, so try not take it to heart. Replying to negative reviews is a chance for you to turn the situation to your advantage.
Families read reviews before attending a new activity, but they won’t be put off by one or two that are less positive. Remember that when you reply to a review, you aren’t just replying to the customer who left it, you’re replying to all the prospective customers. It’s a chance to show that you’re a real person, and let your personality shine through - so try not to come across as angry or defensive! You don’t have to reply to every single negative review, but if you do want to reply, here are our top tips:
Take some time out
Reading that someone had a bad experience at one of your activities can be an emotional experience. It’s hard to hear that somebody didn’t like something you put a lot of time and effort into. If you’re feeling hurt or angry, take some time out before writing your reply. Writing in the heat of the moment can lead to saying things that you regret later - taking time to clear your head will allow you to come back and take the high road.
Ask for help
If you’ve taken some time and drafted a response, but you’re not quite sure how it comes across, ask someone! Ask a trusted co-worker or friend to read through it. You want to avoid sounding defensive, harsh or argumentative - and having a fresh pair of eyes read through might highlight something you’ve missed.
Firstly, acknowledge the review and thank them for taking the time to provide feedback. Even if you don’t wholly agree, avoid creating a confrontation with the customer - thank them, address any specific complaints individually and move on. Be positive and genuine in your responses, and let customers know any steps you’re taking to resolve the issue.
If you’re still struggling to phrase your reply, you can find some examples of negative review responses here.
Listening to your customers
Your customers are vital to your business! If you get the same piece of negative feedback often, consider making a change. Spotting trends can actually help improve your business, and keep customers coming back. Here are a few ways to resolve some common complaints. If they say…
…It wasn’t what they were expecting
Your Hoop listings can help parents understand what they can expect before they come along. Make sure your description includes the details of what the children will be doing, and include good quality photos of your activity.
….It wasn’t suitable for the child’s age group.
Children develop differently, especially when they’re younger. If you run activities for little ones that are skill-based, consider including this in your description (e.g. “suitable for pre-walkers”), so families know what stage their little one should be at to bring them along. Alternatively, if you run classes for a wide age range and get this feedback often, you may want to consider offering some sessions for narrower age groups, where you can adapt to the needs of each stage.
….It wasn’t good value for money.
Prices can vary a lot, and expectations vary along with them. If your activity is at the more expensive end of the scale, families may expect more. Be sure to communicate the value of your activity - experienced teachers, materials, or if lunch is included. It’s also a good idea to check out what similar activity providers in your area charge - you can get an idea from our pricing guide, or by researching your competitors.
...The venue was too hot / too cold / not clean enough.
Developing a good relationship with your venue is important! Getting any issues resolved promptly is important for your customers, and for your business. Be sure to pass on any issues, and stay on top of chasing it until it’s fixed. Be proactive in spotting potential problems, don’t wait for a customer to let you know.
….The activity was too full.
It’s great that lots of families want to come along - so think about if there’s a way to expand to accommodate them! This could be looking for a bigger venue nearby (or a bigger room in the same venue), or offering another session before or after.
Hearing that somebody hasn’t enjoyed your activity can be disheartening - but don’t let it get you down too much. As long as you listen to your customers, and learn from their feedback, you should receive plenty of great reviews too. Remember, don’t wait for reviews to come in - encourage positive reviews from your regulars by asking at the end of your sessions and sharing your review link (find it here) on your social media, your website and in your emails.