Managing Negative Reviews: A Guide for Entrepreneurs

Every entrepreneur has to go through a phase where they come across negative reviews of their company’s product. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is bad, or has a glitch. To look at it in a good way, someone is paying attention enough to want to offer advice or comments that can help make your product better.

In fact, from my own experience of posting negative reviews about products I try out, I find that the management takes these issues very seriously. Reviews are reflections of the company’s performance, and companies don’t wish to let them pass with a wink. They look at it as a report card. And much like this analogy, the product is their child, the report card its performance and the entrepreneur the parents who want their ‘children’ to soar high and achieve great success.

Negative reviews could be very demoralizing because lots of funding, effort and time go into a product to ensure its success. Moreover, negative reviews may have negative impacts, leading to a loss of faith in customers, especially when the product is marketed online.

Nonetheless, customers who post negative reviews are probably the ones who might find the product acceptable but are not particularly satisfied with certain aspects of the product. It is important for entrepreneurs to understand why customers post these negative reviews and what to do about it.

Take cues from negative reviews

Negative reviews can actually be the guiding force when companies develop their next line of products. As an entrepreneur, you have to ensure your company’s next line of products will remain free of faults that earlier reviews have pointed out. That is exactly one of the reasons why mobile phone companies come up with new models one after the other, with newly added features, and in some cases, removal of some of the older buggy or faulty features. Mobile phone manufacturers are highly dependent upon reviews to know their product acceptance level among users, and also to know what their users want.

iphone evolution (Image Source: freeiphoneipadnews)

They look to improve their next product, in accordance with how customers have reacted to existing features in past and present models, and also to make products more user-friendly. Whether you belong to the food industry, tech industry, or any other industry, negative reviews will help you to get a clear picture of your product’s performance in the eyes of your customers. Take cues from such reviews and change your products to suit customer taste, and also create better future products as your company expands its product platforms.

Take action if necessary

Reviews generally reveal what customers think about a product. Entrepreneurs would, therefore, look for negative reviews so that they can find faults in their products and rectify the problems. If most of the reviews point out the same faults in a product, then it’s time to sit back and figure out why. If it is necessary, an internal probe should be conducted to find out if the fault exists and what actions are required to fix the problem. This was what happened in 2010 to the automobile giant BMW.


The luxury car manufacturer faced a very similar situation, when customers complained about their brakes, particularly of the 5-, 6- and 7-Series. The company decided to take concrete steps to rectify the manufacturing defect, even though, it meant a blow to company stocks and its reputation. BMW asked owners of more than 350,000 car owners to bring their cars in so they can fix the brakes for them. The company took action because it felt its reputation was at stake, and possibly because the safety of their cars have been compromised.

It may not be possible for every entrepreneur to go as far as what BMW did, but in taking responsibility for the problem and producing solutions at no cost to their customers, BMW is able to regain customer faith in their product and the company, thereby securing their reputation for the brand and for future customers.

product design reviews

Not many entrepreneurs are aware of the fact that negative product design reviews can have a detrimental effect in the long run. Many entrepreneurs miss the trick when they don’t give enough importance to design reviews. You should understand that your competitors will keep an eye on your product review sections and they will never miss any detail about reviews mentioning product design loopholes.

Remember, quality cannot be imitated, but designs can. Competitors will read your company’s negative product design reviews and come up with the same design on their own product that will fit your customer’s imagination. This in itself, allows them to score an advantage over you.

You will stay aloof believing that design reviews will not affect your product sale. In reality, it does, especially when you find similar rival products with better designs floating in the market. The impact may not be sudden but they could be damaging in the long run. The best way would be to attend such reviews and come up with solutions at the soonest. It may not be possible to implement product design changes immediately, but you should try and do what you can to prevent your competitors from taking advantage of your flaws.

Clarify doubts arising out of reviews

Any review about a company’s product will have a lasting impression in the minds of potential customers. Negative reviews can be more damaging because it tends to be "attractive". Entrepreneurs should take them seriously and counter review claims. The company’s website is the best place to answer back reviews. Doing so will give a chance for potential customers to know about the product and help them to clarify doubts that may have cropped up in their minds after reading the negative reviews. Look out for forums that have a review section about your company’s products and make sure you become a member to know what reviews are being posted. Reply promptly to negative review claims.


If you answer back reviews, two benefits are lined up for you. Firstly, potential customers who seek your product will be impressed by the fact that you have a genuine concern for your product, and don’t want to allow negative reviews to spoil your product’s reputation. Secondly, it also shows that the company is deeply involved in keeping its existing customers happy. Customers will walk away with the impression that the company is serious about its business, and has great concern for growth. It will, therefore, minimize the effects of a bad review.

It’s good to have some negativity

Not all bad reviews are damaging. If there is a small clutter of negative reviews in a big section of positive reviews, then it actually helps. Alhough it may sound very strange, but the fact is such a small portion of negative reviews will make buyers curious about a product. It may even lead buyers to try out that product in an effort to test the authenticity of such reviews.

Not all buyers depend solely on another person’s reviews to make their own decisions. The question, though, is how to decide which reviews are not damaging. Negative reviews that do not poke at the quality of a product may not be that bad. It doesn’t matter what product your company sells, if reviews, no matter how negative they are, do not refer to bad consequences arising out of the use of a product, then you can consider leaving it in.


Negative reviews are bound to take place, no matter how good your product is. There will always be someone, who will not appreciate your product. Your product might not go well with their taste, or you might come across someone who has a habit of posting negative reviews. There could be a number of reasons behind any bad review. It is how entrepreneurs like you react to these negative reviews and handle them that sets you apart from the crowd.