How to Deal with Negative Reviews


No matter how well you run your business, it’s bound to happen: an unfavorable rating. But don’t panic! A negative review is not the end of your business (or the world!) and if handled properly, can actually be a positive thing.

The Rundown: Ratings in SAGE

In SAGE, distributors can rate suppliers from A+ to F. They can also assign a star rating to the particular product they ordered, add comments, and rate your business on three optional categories: customer service, delivery, and problem resolution. Comments are publicly displayed on the rating tab of supplier and product detail pages.

The SAGE Rating System is free and is the easiest way for distributors to see ratings from other industry professionals. By simply participating in ratings, your products have a higher chance of appearing in searches. Distributors can also filter their searches by ratings, so the more positive ratings you receive, the higher chance your products have of showing in searches. Additionally, ratings in SAGE are tailored to the industry, so distributors can feel confident that reviews are from their own peers.

Oh No! A Bad Review – What Now?

No one likes to see bad reviews, but the reality is that every business gets them from time to time. When you receive a poor rating, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t mean your products or services are bad. Negative reviews are often the result of mismatched or miscommunicated expectations, or even just an off day for either party.

When faced with an unflattering rating in the SAGE Supplier Rating System, keep in mind that reviews are subjective in nature and are based only on distributors’ opinions of their experiences with your business. “Bad” ratings may be out of your control, but how you respond to the situation is what is important.

Responding to Critical Reviews

Step zero to dealing with a negative review is accepting that they happen and not taking it personally. Then, it’s time to tackle the issue head on.

Step 1: Communicate

SAGE Advantage Members can reply to distributors via the SAGE Supplier Center. Responding to reviews should be your standard operating procedure whether they are positive or negative. Thanking customers for favorable reviews reflects well on your business. But when reviews are not-so-positive, you shouldn’t shy away from replying to the distributor. Be diplomatic, thank them for their review, and offer a solution.

Step 2: Resolve and Re-Rate

After you’ve addressed their concerns, ask your customers to update their rating. Ratings in SAGE are updated in real time and distributors can only rate each supplier once, so when the distributor changes their rating to reflect that you took the time to talk to them and resolve the issue, it will automatically replace the old review and update your overall rating.

Step 3: Be Constructive

Sure, no one likes getting unfavorable reviews. However, they can be a useful tool in helping you to see where improvements can be made. If you receive multiple reviews about a certain subject, you can be sure that its something worth addressing. Make sure to take all your comments, positive and negative, and analyze them to see how you can continue improving. The more steps you take to enhance your business, the more positive reviews you are sure to collect.

Ratings don’t have to be scary. Don’t forget that unflattering ratings and reviews happen to everyone, and what is most important is how you respond to them. Remain calm, respond diplomatically, and offer your customers solutions.

To learn more about the SAGE Supplier Rating System, click here or give us a call and speak to your Account Executive today.

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(Marketing Coordinator)

Caitlin is a Marketing Coordinator at SAGE. When she's not writing, she enjoys baking and spending time with her beagle puppy, Piper.

One Comment

  1. Good suggestions. One improvement I would like to see - if distributors can rate a supplier, why can't suppliers get to rate a distributor? I think this would be very helpful in some situations, where sadly no matter what is done to repair / fix / compensate for a problem, some distributors still give a terrible rating. This is a rare situation, but does happen. I think such distributors may be a little more willing to soften their stance a bit, if they would be rated also.

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