Embrace Negative Reviews

You may have already read in Chris’ post ‘How to Do Dreamforce Remotely‘ which is helpful especially for me as this year Dreamforce is a no-no, the main reason is well… I’m getting married a week after 🙂

Even though my high levels of FOMO, I’m trying to be logically about it: travelling across the globe, on a completely different timezone and with last minutes decisions coming in (so I’ve heard); it does feels a bit risky and well there will be many Dreamforce’s and an intention of only one wedding!

Now, deviating from the Salesforce world but in the context of this post title and my October endeavours I’ll tell you a rather bizarre, yet true story.

How Not to Brand

grooms-2561072_1280The wedding dress I bought needed some tweaks, I found a nearby place that I emailed for alterations that I wanted (including a sketch) and of course asking about pricing. Albeit from the email the specifics were not acknowledged, I got an appointment anyway.

From the start the service was pretty awful, they were late, not well looked after, many of the changes I wanted to do they “didn’t do”, including some of which the seamstress didn’t agree with (it is my dress), then to quote me for this the shop assistant put the head through the changing room curtain and told me the price, then made me pay in full & tick some boxes upon payment which I got to learn later were basically a waver… the whole thing was a bit of a shambles!

Branding image at this point…not great.

The same evening I wrote to them to say that I was very unsure about  the changes to my dress, but didn’t hear anything. So on Monday evening I called to make sure they got the message, to what led to being put on hold and forgotten I think as after more than 15 minutes I ended up hanging up, then tried to call back but the line was busy. I wrote to them again cancelling the work as by then I was quite annoyed customer.

“Patience is a virtue” – William Langland

Since then, I spent over a month trying to get my dress back. I did get some attention when I wrote public reviews about “my hostage wedding dress”, to which they responded with threats to take legal action and refused to talk to me until all reviews were deleted (which sadly I did delete). At first I was told that the works have started and could not be cancelled, to what later was confirmed that wasn’t the case and they could return my dress on its original condition and refund in full. But under the condition to sign a settlement which tied me not to expose the matter, which is not only restricting my freedom of speech, but against consumer rights, essentially feels blackmail.

Tip: As more you try to force me to do something the less I want to. Ask my fiance!


After a month back and forth, I ended up going to the store and demanding my dress back, of which I then got offered £1000 to sign the settlement agreement, to which of course I refused and the figure rapidly grew to £5000 to a final offer of asking me how much it would cost. They called the police who thankfully agreed that the dress should be returned to me, and finally after almost 3 hours got it back!

Cutting a long story short and to summarise, from bad service, to blackmail, to bribery, to winning the battle with principles.

Much closer reality

In a sense this post is mostly non-Salesforcey until now! As you know I am a big supporter of the answers section in the Trailblazer Community and very recently I’ve encountered a situation somehow related to this theme.

Not long ago I called out a quite spammy sales pitch on over 100 comments posted within minutes in the community! What looked like a ‘copy paste’ comment onto existing questions for the past 9 years. That behaviour already tells you a lot of which kind of communications approach as well to principles that company and individual has. Without forgetting to mention that well, it goes against what the ecosystem is trying to achieve, right? Unique individual relevant conversations in a whole new way.

This is not the first time I call something like this out, but this time after explaining that is not the place not the manner, nor a great go to market “strategy”… it’s sadly gone sour. Yet, what struck me the most is the request for deletion of my thoughts (bearing in mind my above other recent experience).

We should not put our efforts to hide information away, but instead embrace feedback.


On a study from Northwestern University was found that when the average is a perfect 5.0, consumers think that it is “too good to be true” and as a result, ignore the ratings because they are assumed fake.

And with our agile hat on, lets remember that we aim to go to market earlier so that we can get feedback on what is really wanted, on a continuos cycles to tune and adjust on this ever changing environment.

Continuos Improvement

What we do have certainty on is that:

Nobody is perfect. Therefore, no company is perfect.


Which lead me to this post. With all the above, we’ve already covered some of the potential damage of not handling well feedback, if you want a laugh check out: Five Hilariously Bad Management Responses on TripAdvisor. But if you want to know why embrace negative reviews, my view is that:

  • You know about it so you can solve the problem.
  • If you can turn it around you found yourself an advocate.
  • Brand reputation potential could increase on how well you handle these.
  • It’s basically free market research.

When people are looking at review sites, they are looking for confidence to support their desire to buy whatever you’re selling. Peer reviews are important. Seeing that a company fixes a problem may be even more important. Embrace the negative review as the opportunity to show the world that you take care of your customers!

So the next time you read a negative review of your brand, don’t get upset. Get excited! You have a new opportunity to get the feedback you need be a better company, team, product to make customers happy, to show other people that you are a great brand. Embrace those negative reviews and take you and your team to new heights!


PS: You may not read much from me soon, between wedding and honeymoon I will be disappearing for a month 🙂 total disconnection whilst discovering Okinawa and the southern islands of Japan. Sayonara!


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