Marie Forleo introduction


I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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Today I’m packing my bags to fly across country to speak at a big internet marketing event called Underground hosted by my friend Yanik Silver.

I’m so pumped to teach and learn, and really happy the weather back east is mild. This New Yorker has officially gotten used to 70 degrees and sunny LA weather.

Now that you know my whereabouts, let’s get down to some business advice.

In today’s episode of MarieTV, I’ll show you how to deal with one of THE most upsetting situations you’ll run into as a business owner . . .

Negative business reviews.

No matter how great your products or services are, there will be people who are simply not happy with their purchase.

When those unhappy customers leave negative reviews about your business online, it can do real damage to your confidence, reputation and revenue – unless you know how to deal.

As you know, you can’t erase negative reviews, but you can handle the criticism with a smart strategy. And get this . . .

You can even make negative reviews good for your business!

Watch this video now to get a simple, yet fool-proof three step strategy to deal with negative reviews online.

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

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Since this is a really important subject for us all, I’d love to hear your feedback on dealing with negative reviews.

Whether you’ve responded to criticism about your business, or have stories to share about companies you’ve had issues with, let me know at least one specific strategy (i.e. what works or what doesn’t) in the comments below.

Be Cool. This can be a sensitive and emotional subject, so please comment from a place of compassion and understanding – for yourself, your customer and/or the business you may have not had a great experience with.

I will not tolerate the bashing of anyone or anything. We all make mistakes and as Maya Angelou says, “When you know better you do better.”  So do comment, but be cool about it.

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  1. Great tips on the three steps to the high road. Sometimes it is not easy to not get defensive and take things personally. I have also been on the flip side of this when offering constructive criticism, and the criticism is viewed negatively and the person gets defensive. A person must train themselves to find that calm center and take the high road. I read a lot of web hosting reviews and there isn’t a single web hosting company that doesn’t have some negative reviews. As the saying goes, ‘You can’t please all the people, all the time.’ The added problem with that particular type of review, is that they are not all unbiased and genuine, but, after reading several, it is easier to decipher which ones are real. Okay, I kind of got off on a tangent, but, I think your advice pretty much covered the bases.
    Congratulations on the Forbes piece, also; now, I am wondering about the Underground event you mentioned. 😉

    • One of the things as a wordpress business blogger I recommend is to write an article specifically about the online/web complaint/bad review. And here’s what I mean by that ok? After doing all that was brilliantly suggested, “sometimes” a little public but strategic embarrassment/apology in the form of a blog post, tagging or linking to the negative review online helps to clear up the issue and set the record straight will also show up on the web as well. and because its more recent, there is the window of opportunity that you would have already made things right but it shows others looking on for the first time how well you resolve issues and even what new products, services, and/or staff you added/removed/improved in order to satisfy your customer and protect your brand. Now “obviously” (like duh), this all depends on the severity of the issue at hand so use discretion but, I have witnessed situations like this and it definitely shows the human side to business owners. This is one of my favorite Internet Marketing tips for Mompreneurs and it sure seems to work since our schedules demand so many changes in or lives. We are always conscious about negative reviews based on our circumstances. Great post and video. I wanna know how she makes the vids (^_^)

      • Rhea

        That’s an awesome PR strategy! It takes guts to do, especially since almost nobody likes to admit when they’re wrong.

    • “… on the flip side of this when offering constructive criticism, and the criticism is viewed negatively and the person gets defensive. A person must train themselves to find that calm center and take the high road.”

      This is so true. One of the things people forget is that you can’t take everything people do personal. It’s not always you, many times it’s them. Sometimes you’re just not a great fit.

      I also think some people are angry and are out to be extremely negative. That’s going to show in their reviews — have you ever gotten a nasty review for a book you’ve written on Amazon – only to discover that person copies and pastes the same stuff all over?

      • Rose Wiseman

        Thanks for the comment. I detected the error and have already corrected it for the next issue. Please have a nice day.
        I include myself and indicate an experience I had and what happen so tlhink again about your comment you made on the reciew and I abelieve you will agree with me.
        Simply ignore the review if it is not something that will hurt your character.

      • Great point, Lauryn; also, that is a very good tip by Rhea Brown, above.

  2. My comment is about owning your criticism instead of hiding behind anonymity which is often the case with reviews.

    Here’s an example…

    Recently I started back to school. When each of our courses comes to an end we are asked to fill in an evaluation form about that class and its instructor. We are not required to put our name on our evaluations.

    After taking several classes and still feeling like I haven’t had my concerns addressed, I have decided that no longer will I remain anonymous on my evaluation forms.

    Putting my name on my written detailed feedback means I own the words. By taking ownership of feedback not only do you allow the person being critiqued to approach you for more detail and clarification, making the feedback more valuable, but it also serves one other very important purpose.

    You are much more likely to be diplomatic and respectful in your written feedback if you sign your name to it. How many times have we mouthed-off nonchalantly about bad service when we know we would have delivered that information much differently had the person in question been standing right in front of us.

    Own your feedback 100% and give it in a way that you would want to receive if you were in their shoes.

    • Hey Christina!

      I went to two schools online – Kaplan and Full Sail. I understand what you mean when it comes to giving feedback that matters. I once chased a professor down for feedback because with all the money you spend for an education, it becomes extremely important to make sure you’re getting what you need.

      Did you receive any follow up from the feedback you provided?

      • Hey Lauren,

        Nope, not a word of reply, sadly. But my new plan of attack, in the event that my feedback is not being shared with the instructor in question, is to email my feedback directly to the instructor as well. Hopefully that will create a win-win situation.

        I hope your pro-activity yielded some positive results.

    • marie

      I REALLY love this about owning the feedback!

      • Many high fives to you, Marie.

  3. Sound advice as usual Marie!!

    There is NOTHING more dangerous for our business to get constant feedback that says “Yay, you are great, you rock, you are amazing” – we need the “haters”, the dissatisfied, and disappointed to keep us on our toes and up our game.

    (Personally I strive for 2 emotions; LOVE and hate … the rest in the middle is not going to help me grow)

    Negative reviews actually give the positive reviews a human side. We all have bad days and we have to accept that we can’t please everyone.

    Customers are much more likely to express dissatisfaction before they express something something positive SO those positive reviews are AMAZING and the negative ones just give more balanced picture.

    • Ameena that’s an inspiring mindset to have especially because both love and hate correlate with growth. I think as entrepreneurs we often combine our own sense of identity with that of our businesses; they become completely entwined. Recently I’ve begun to have the revelation that its incredibly unhealthy to allow your business to impact your emotions and that’s exactly what happens when you receive negative feedback. I think the key is to embrace the love/hate reality and see both elements as mechanisms of growth whilst also allowing for a degree of separation between ourselves and our businesses. Thanks for a great video Marie! As always not only is your business advice great but the comments on here are awesome.

      • Hey Victoria!

        Yeah it’s hard to keep separate my emotions from my business as it’s just me, and I’ve thrown myself into it massively.

        It’s been a long bumpy road and sometimes it is impossible to ignore the bad stuff but channeling it and giving it the tiny bit of attention it needs helps me bounce back and go after that LOVE!

      • Victoria,

        Great points! Love and Hate are very correlated. In order to be really loved by one group, you have to be just as despised by another; it demonstrates you have a pretty clear brand.

        Ever realized how inauthentic it seems when someone is so “vanilla” they please everyone? It makes them fit in, look average or seem untrustworthy (by some supersuspicious people).

      • Ameena, a great attitude to have. I share it. While it’s painful to read and hear bad reviews, they make you better at what you do if you follow up by being proactive.

    • What a fab + timely post! Thanks Marie!

      I am in business as an Intuitive Healer and I also create Sacred Healing Bling. How I handle feedback depends on which biz it is.

      Healing: I keep it straight that we are in the loving profession. Sometimes people will want to act out conflict with me that is really about their history. I get that and am grounded and sane enough to work with it.

      Once upon Googling myself I found a pretty nasty one star anonymous review about my healing services. (A bad surprise like a sock in the gut). It sort addressed every aspect of my healing sessions – from price, to service, to guidance, to appearance – and one zinger I couldn’t get past- that I learned to parrot the advice of most popular self-help people out there.

      I learned several things:
      1. In the case of anonymous feedback like this, it is OK to approach existing clients and ask for a ‘balancing review’. Write to a group of clients, explain what happened, and ask for honest feedback to be posted on the same site where the negative feedback is.
      2. There are 7 billion people on the planet, and I am bound to have my own kind of peeps. It isn’t a one size fits all service.
      3. Negative feedback is still feedback. Gets you noticed, creates curiosity about YOU.
      4. Makes a good case to be sure you are receiving supervision, coaching, etc- a place of your own to go and process what came up as a result of being harshly critiqued.

      In my practice of creating one of a kind healing jewelry- it is a much different approach. I ALWAYS:
      1. Genuinely apologize (loved your post a while back on this Marie)
      2. Ask, “what can I do to make it right” and offer a refund, or exchange (no worries! Be generous!)
      3. Refund the shipping they pay to mail it back to me
      4. Include a thank you note- not over the top butt kissing or anything – just good old fashioned customer service.

      What I learned about doing this is that while some customers WILL still give feedback about the problem they had, they will also mention the solution offered- and the excellent care and service is usually mentioned too.
      Thanks as usual it was a great Q & A!

      • Robin

        Wow – I can imagine how you felt. Do you even have an idea who that was who said those things?

  4. Thanks Marie! A bad review isn’t always pleasant and you helped put it into perspective! I love turning it around to a learning experience and “making it right”. It’s smart to remember that no matter how great I am someone might not like the service or product I provide. They might not be my ideal client OR they might teach me an angle I’m not addressing in my service. It might just turn out to be gold mind of information. Thanks Girl!!!

    • marie

      You are so welcome and thanks for sharing here Melissa!

  5. Edward

    Marie, I am interested to know how you deal with legitimate “haters”, not just customers with a gripe. When doing business on the web, all too often we lend ourselves to being judged by the discriminating masses, leaving ourselves somewhat vulnerable to the picture they might paint to others of you or your business, based upon their perception of what it is that you do (yes, some people seem to just have an axe to grind, even if they’ve never done business with you – eg “This person seems like a scam artist, save your money, etc..”. For example, I’ve seen negative feedback on your youtube videos based upon your behavior, expressions, even style of dress…do you take the time to acknowledge these people for what seems like simply ignorant assertions, or just general “hating”? It’s not always a window of opportunity, some people are just nasty. Let me know your thoughts.

    • For every person that hates you there are 10 more who love you. 🙂

    • Edward, that’s a really good question! I hope someone chimes in with advice. My thoughts are that there’s a big difference between unhappy customers who leave negative feedback and ‘haters.’ Usually unhappy customers send an email and its often not too tricky to please them and rectify the situation. Usually someone who leaves a bad review has previously tried to make contact with the company but didn’t receive a response or one that was positive. ‘Haters’ however are a completely different category altogether because their work is often unfairly detrimental to someone’s business.

    • Hi Edward,

      I think it comes down to choosing your battles. There’s always someone who will NOT. LIKE. YOU. No matter what you do, how nice you are, or how accommodating you are, there will always be someone who is just NOT really able and willing to get down with you or anything you offer, simply because you exist. These include people who have never met you, never tried your services, and possibly hate you so deeply that they’ll follow you all over just to smother you with luscious loads of hate sauce.

      People like that can be interpreted in so many ways. I usually just remember that hate is love with intense personal insecurity. They’d love to be like me or have some aspect of me, but simply don’t have the know-how or mentality. They may feel working from a scarcity mentality — and that there’s not enough to go around — is true to reality, and therefore hate you because you “hogged it all” and left nothing behind for them. Kind of like when women get jealous of other women…

      At the end of the day, you have to, again center yourself. Are these conclusions valid? Did these people buy my product? What can I do to make things better if so?

      When you realize this is just animosity… keep working because you never know when you’ll hit enough positive testimonials to outshine the (BLEEP!).

    • marie

      Hey Edward! Great question and here’s my answer. I don’t give time or energy to anyone who spews hate and negativity, especially the kind you are describing, on my videos. I am here to make a positive impact and change lives. My rule is to only give attention to those who are respectful and kind. I appreciate different opinions and spirited debate, but only when it’s shared from a place of maturity and mutual respect and a desire for both people to learn and grow. For those who don’t like how I look, how I dress, how I think, or how I do what I do, they need to change their virtual channel. 😉

      • x

        Marie — while I intellectually agree with you here (and think it’s the far better way of dealing with it on a spirit level), I have to tell you…it isn’t always possible.

        I’m seeing it increase in the past couple years: a kind of pitchforking where some small, completely normal issue is blown way out of proportion, and piled onto by folks just itching for a fight. Folks that may not even be customers of the place in question. It’s always some tiny perceived slight, and no amount of refund, apology, or explanation can stop it. They’ll pick apart someone’s apology and attack, over and over, going so far as to post personal info, etc.. It’s *scary* mob mentality, usually led by one or two people who think they’re being crusaders for justice.

        In my own case, an explained three week delay (of a quarterly thing) turned into three years of harassment, going so far as to threatening my physical safety at a speaking engagement. This person creates aliases and emails, tweets, or comments to anyone who mentions anything about me online favorably, telling them how horrible I am. My partner and I had to contact the FBI at one point, because we got actual death threats via email, in fact.

        It wasn’t the kind of thing you could just not give attention to, because there are truly some disturbed, determined people out there. (My hater ringleader? Makes fake accounts on twitter to harass reality television stars online. No, seriously. Scary human.) Personally, I had to change my name and move half-way across the country, and it *still* persists, even almost three years later.

        True haters aren’t just the drive-by kind. Bad comments, negative reviews in barely-literate english, even unwarranted one-star opinions anonymously — that’s not a hater thing. Those can be learned from. True haters are nuts, in a way, and there’s no way to fight the crazy. If you’ve got any good advice for it, I’m all ears.

      • Marie,
        I completely agree with this way of dealing with legitimate haters. I have had one real encounter with this in my business. Someone who has never been a customer of mine posted a nasty review on a review website. I felt helpless. There was nothing I could say to counter the review, it was all false and just hurtful.
        I had to ignore it and hope that others would too. Eventually the review was removed (either by him or the review site).

        Something I have noticed as a customer is I disregard that negative reviews that are not thoughtful. My favorite hotel is an example. On TripAdvisor they have over 700 positive reviews and less than a dozen negative ones. About half of the one-star reviews gave good examples to support their rating but and the manager addressed them. A handful of them just seemed hateful and belligerent and I think anyone reading them would have seen them that way. The manager did not respond to most of these and the ones that he did respond to said something like, “We attempted to resolve this issue in person to no avail. I am sorry that it moved to the internet. If you would like to discuss it further, please contact me.”
        As a customer I read this as “that customer is just flipping crazy”.

  6. Definitely super important to take the negative reviews seriously as a way to improve your offering and brand. Especially the well constructed negative reviews – if the customer knows exactly what it was he/she didn’t like about your service or product and has explained that in the review, it is easier for you to improve. I think it’s also important to ask people what you could have done better, even if they give you a positive review.

    • marie

      Absolutely Carina!

  7. A bad review can certainly suck the wind out you faster than my mother when she doesn’t like my new hair color! It does hurt, however, when I have received negative feedback, and separated myself from the wind-sucking feeling, in most cases, there has been something to approve on when I’ve taken an honest look.

    It isn’t always easy to hear when we’ve put our heart and soul into something, but I know now I wouldn’t be as good as I am at what I do without the feedback from customers, family members, accountability partners, etc. My feedback hasn’t always come from customers…it has also come from the people I care about most who are trying to make me better at what I do and to that, I am grateful!

  8. Perfect advice Marie! This is such a loaded topic and we’ve all had moments when we’ve been unhappy with a service provider. But learning to accept feedback is part of the entrepreneurial gig! Once you learn to not take it personally, life becomes so much better. I’ve found that if you just reach out and let people know they are heard, they appreciate it and it sometimes even turns around the negative review into a positive one.

    • I couldn’t have said it better myself. Great feedback Racheal.

  9. Such a great message and at just the right time!

    I once worked with a male client (though I cater to women) who raved about our work together at the end of our first package of sessions. He took a break and when he decided he wanted to return to coaching, I was no longer accepting clients for that time period. I told him this in a very polite manner and then said, “I’ve really enjoyed working with you and if you’d like, I can try and squeeze you in sometime within the next month or two.”

    He was livid and proceeded to tell me that he was very dissatisfied with our work together as whole. I apologized very sincerely and told him that I would love a chance to have a full session so that he could tell me how I could have better served him. He then came clean and confessed that he had loved working with me but was just ultimately upset that I couldn’t take him back in the moment.

    That was a great lesson and reminder for me that clients ALL want to feel like a #1 top priority. I had made him feel like an after thought, rather than a very valuable asset to my business.

    Since then, all of my clients get first class treatment from me. I rearrange schedules as needed, I email them within 12 hours (usually sooner) to help them through challenging times in between our sessions and I send them random gifts of appreciation. His negative feedback REALLY helped me over deliver!

    As I prepare to launch my book, Successful People are Full of C.R.A.P.(Courage, Resilience, Authenticity, Perseverance):A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Together & Achieving Your Dreams, of course I worry about what the public will think and negative feedback. Will they love it? Will they hate it? How will I respond to a negative review?

    I just remind myself that you can’t please everyone all of the time! I also remind myself that while one or two may not like my stuff, there are tons of other women out there who are digging my vibe. AND, at the end of the day, if I can help just ONE person, then I’ve done my job and I can rest easy knowing that I’ve served my purpose in the world for that day.

    Thanks for such great tips Marie!



  10. I’m a photographer so you’d think I’d be used to criticism about my work. But I’ve really struggled with the fear of rejection – and only recently figured out why?

    I was being too business minded about my photography, now that might sound strange but I was so intent on making my business a success (got to pay the bills and all!) that I’d lost sight of my natural ability to take photographs and was getting too tied up in ‘will this shot sell’ and ‘is it good enough’ of course they never were to me? All I could think about was there is so much competition out there I’ve got to be fantastic?

    Since I’ve dropped this ‘mentality’ I feel so free!

    I decided thinking like that wasn’t working…. I just need to be myself with my photography, whatever that may be!

    My portfolio has completely changed and is growing with shots I love to take because they’re there and catch my eye…

    And this has actually helped my business not hindered it!

    Now I’m looking at getting my portfolio up on Smugmug – because now I feel it’s worth it.

    The fear of rejection and criticism of something that is personal to me like my photography really held me back. I love what I do now for me and not anybody else, and when I share it with the world and they don’t like it then that’s ok too!

    I suppose not exactly what you we’re asking but thought my story may help somebody else?

  11. Sharune

    I love u Maria and ur tv is so great so positive! You are fantastic

  12. One of the key takeaways for me here is “people just want to be heard.” Ab-so-freakin’-lutely! I’ve had many a customer service position over the years, from retail to restaurants and everything in between, and I know from experience that even the most irate customer can be often be calmed if you genuinely seek to get to the bottom of the trouble, let them know their concern matters, then get to work on fixin’ it! This has worked for me many a time. : )
    It doesn’t work with everyone of course, and I’ve dealt with some of those folks too. In that case, if you’ve genuinely done all you can to listen to them and resolve the issue and they’re still not satisfied, you have to let it go.
    Real world example: Back in my waitressing days, I once waited on a woman who insisted on sitting with her child who needed a high chair in an area of the restaurant where we were not allowed to put high chairs, due to the fire code. She didn’t care about that, she wanted to sit there, she was only going to be there for 30 minutes anyway she said, and refused to take no for an answer. I was very polite (looking back at this now, I can’t believe I kept my cool the way I did!) and explained to her I just couldn’t seat her there, but still, she refused to budge from her demand. Mind you, it was a slow time of the day, a couple hours after the lunch rush but before the dinner rush, so there were 10-15 other available tables in the restaurant. Nope, she didn’t want any of those. Finally I just gave in and let her sit where she wanted. A few days later, she called my boss, the restaurant owner, to complain about me not wanting to let her sit where she wanted, and when my boss backed me up (thanks, Boss!), she said she would nev-er, EV-ER, come to our establishment again. When my boss got off the phone she said, “Thank Gawd! That woman is never happy, always finds something to complain about when she comes in, and makes me and everyone else miserable. I truly hope she doesn’t ever come back!”
    Now in that situation, there was no pleasing the person, no matter how polite and concerned for her happiness I had been, or how wonderful my boss was to her on the phone. But the lesson for me here was actually this: You never know what happened to a person that day, maybe this person had just gotten horrible news, and on the chance that she was just having an off day, I remained polite to her. Which made me feel waaaay better in the long run than if I had been rude and nasty back to her, because that only feels good for a split second!

  13. Hey Marie,

    Great vid/post as usual.

    As Gary Vaynerchuk says, customers who complain to us are the best type of unhappy customers, because we have the power to control the outcome of the situation. Everyone has different standards, expectations and requirements, so no matter how good the product is, there’ll always be a [small] portion of unhappy customers.

    It’s the people that are complaining elsewhere that should be more of a worry. But it’s just part of the game.

    A major part of it is knowing that you have done the best job possible and over-delivered. The vast majority of customers should see this. But, as I said, not everyone will see it that way.

    • marie

      Excellent point about us having the power to control the outcome for our customers that come to us! Thanks Robert 🙂

  14. Marie,

    I think it’s particularly important to know how to manage negative comments especially if you’re going to have an online business. The key really is not to personalize comments but to remember that it’s a business.

    I love that you mentioned that it’s an opportunity to learn what you can do to improve your business. That’s exactly right–a great way to know if you need to make a change. We can’t assume we’re always on track with all we do, sometimes we need these types of reminders to make sure we are providing the best service possible.


  15. Thanks Marie and Grace–

    I recently had a psychotherapy client “terminate” our working relationship via email. Now in years of providing therapy I’ve never encountered that one…be that as it may, I thanked them for their feedback (there was good stuff, too), and aologized. Believe me, my first impulse was to react defensively but I took some time and honest reflection before I responded.

    There is no ‘everyone’ and I believe if we’re selling products online, we should offer a 100% refund, for at least a minimum time frame.

    Was I upset by this email, yes, but this person made a cogent point and I have “had a talk with myself” so this doesn’t happen again.

    Take the high road less traveled, baby!

  16. L-O-V-E it! This one particularly hit a home run for me. I’ll never forget your feedback during a B-School call, “There is more of where than came from”. That has stayed with me tattooed in my forehead + it has really helped me stay tracked on what’s truly important – continue to grow my business from a place of kindness + compassion.

    It’s so easy to “hate” the people who reject us BUT hatred really doesn’t do anybody a service. It leaves us feeling crappier + our business suffers.

    When we kick our ego out of the equation we can truly rise from the aches + GROW!

    Thanks Marie! You are better than all the cupcakes!

  17. Thanks for this, Marie – important topic. Too often, we hold back from taking the next brave business step because we fear we’ll get criticized. The antidote? Become okay with criticism 🙂

    I’ve found NVC (nonviolent communication) useful for receiving feedback from others. I’ve been able to hear what someone is feeling and needing, without making them wrong or getting emotionally hooked myself.

    Without the drama and the “hookiness” of it, I can see what needs to be done. Hearing feedback cleanly like this has enabled me to keep evolving my services so I’m prouder of them month by month.

    with love + respect,

  18. Love the three steps to take to respond to criticism! All people really want as a consumer is to be heard. As a business owner, it’s our responsibility to listen.

  19. Marie-
    Great topic, and from someone who recently dealt with her first negative review, I appreciate your POSITIVE response tactic.
    When I read that review of my video, I was completely bummed, and a little bit angry at her unconstructive comments on something I had poured my soul into. But then I acknowledged that I just wasn’t her cup of tea, and scrolled down the page to read the ton of POSITIVE reviews from others.
    It wasn’t a place where I could respond, so I just moved on.
    I did learn a lesson however, about focusing on the tons of POSITIVE feedback as opposed to the few “haters.” ( I even wrote a blog post about it.. ” I’ve got my first Hater, and I’m over it”)
    Thanks again, for reminding us to always take the High Road.

  20. Great advice! I’m wondering what your advice would be for a bad book review? Especially if it is posted on Amazon where you can’t directly respond to the person who made the review – or to your audience.

    • Steph

      You can reply to comments on Amazon. There is a link at the bottom of each post. I’ve seen authors reply to negative reviews there.

  21. What great tips Marie!

    I feel strongly that anytime someone has even the slightest negative experience with my business, it is 100% MY fault. Somewhere along the way I didn’t set expectations, or communicate properly, or something. So anytime someone comes to me with a concern, I take it as an opportunity to make my process and therefore customer experience better.

    One thing I have found to help is to try my best to get all the concerns/issues to come to me first, before it ends up all over the internet. So I always tell my customers that if they have questions or concerns to please let me know. Every time I deliver a product I ask the client, “what do you think? is it perfect?” and then I also follow that up with a customer satisfaction survey I email them, asking them if their expectations were 100% met, etc… this way I can address any small bumps in the road early before they blow up into nasty online reviews.

    One great bonus is that I find once I fix something for a customer, and show them that I want them to be happy, they sing my praises the loudest 🙂

  22. GREAT video! Good for great info and giggle – you’re so funny ; ) Thanks Marie!

  23. First, love the glasses, Marie. 🙂

    Just recently had some negative feedback on the mobile-friendliness of my blog. It was someone who I’ve had some online chatter with over time and so I did take it to heart (it wasn’t just a “hater”). It had been an issue that had been bugging me since we made some major structural changes to the blog last year. Luckily, that constructive feedback pushed me to address the issue and it has been resolved.

    Thanks for the encouragement and for all you do!

  24. Dear Marie,

    great vid and what a juicy topic! : )

    I 100% agree with your strategy and think it can work wonders.

    As a customer I have given critical feedback before (directly though, not in public) and have been won over again on two occasions because my concerns were met immediately, charmingly and convincingly. It actually increased my respect for these companies because it made them look a) human and b) competent. It didn’t even need a refund or similar to change my mind – just to be taken seriously as a customer felt great (which believe it or not is still rare with medium sized or bigger companies).

    I do think it comes down to relationships one builds with customers and clients. For my own business, I encourage dialogue and feedback right from the first meeting and check in with my clients regularly to see if we are on the right track. It builds trust and I am likely to receive criticism directly and avoid having to hear or read it somewhere else.

    Keep on producing such great videos – I love your inspiring Tuesday bites : )


  25. Sarah

    I worked for a retreat center and our reviews were really mixed on Trip Advisor. When we got a few bad reviews in a row, we decided to contact our loyal, longtime customers to get them to write positive reviews to counterbalance the negative ones. Where bad reviews said the accommodations were crappy, the good ones said “rustic” and “clean and practical,” etc. it worked though it isn’t a great long term strategy in my opinion.

  26. Thanks for the great advice!

  27. Love the three steps you outlined, Marie!

    I also wrote about what I learned from a bad review of *me* on my blog:

    The big take-home lesson was that what I *thought* about the bad review was much more debilitating than the actual review, and it was keeping me really stuck.

    It lead me to think more about the concept of self-talk and how it can be used as either a tool or a weapon and I was delighted to learn of a recent article in Scientific American Mind related to this topic.

    Psychologist Ibrahim Senay of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studies self-talk. Senay believed that the form and texture of self-talk—right down to the sentence structure—might be important in shaping self-concept as well as plans and actions. What’s more, self-talk might be a tool for exerting the will—or being willing.

    You can read more about how he tested his hypothesis on my post, but basically he created conditions so that half of his subjects asked, “Will I do this?” while the other half asserted, “I will do this.”

    People with “inquiring minds” were more successful at correcting negative self-talk and “doing better” in the future than the subjects with willful minds. Pretty cool, huh?

  28. Thanks Marie….well done! Complaints are actually gifts. I learned a long time ago, then when a complain about your business comes in….that’s a GOOD THING. It means the customer is still willing to communicate with you. When all communication stops….you may have lost that customer completely. Just like in relationships!! Thanks for the post and video!!

  29. Admittedly negative feedback hurts, but I almost always find that in the end the person cared enough to actually help me improve my business. I take a deep breath and put my ego in check and then can usually be grateful for their comments.

    I also always make it a point to thank the person and follow up with them to make it right.


  30. Great tips and definitely something for me to keep in mind.

    I’ve only dealt with negative feedback a handful of times, usually related to my company’s all sales are final policy (which is clearly written on all order forms and receipts and which I verbally acknowledge when closing sales).

    I have a bit more experience with giving negative feedback, which I always try to do in a constructive, kind way. I’ve found that making logical points about areas where improvement can occur is the best way to go about it. Constructive criticism > angry freedback. I’ve had some great responses from business owners who I’ve actually come to know as a result of my contacting them.

  31. Marie-

    I’m just starting my biz at Encourage Beauty. I don’t even have bad reviews…yet. But, I’m thankful for the advice because this is preparation for the future!

    Thank you for all you do. One of your videos pretty much changed my life & inspired me to take my little idea, and turn it into a business.

  32. Thank you all for your AMAZING comments. I’ve not had a bad review yet, but given the fact that I am in a service business based on people’s reactions, I know that I will not be able to please people 100% of the time. I just want to say thank you for all of these comments because I will definitely keep them in mind – classy ladies!!! 🙂


  33. Sunny

    This is such an important reminder for every level of a company. negative feedback doesn’t mean people hate you – it means they expect a lot from you, so when you don’t deliver they notice.

    Bravo when people expect the best from you and your company! It means you have something worth believing in. And if they are willing to take the time to give feedback – positive or negative – it means they actually care enough to let you know how they feel. Take this opportunity to learn and grow and be better. You can save the relationship, the customer, and possibly grow your business by turning a lackluster reviewer into a raving fan by making it right.

    I have been on both ends of negative feedback. Getting your back up doesn’t do anyone any good, and makes you look unprofessional. I had a great experience with a local restaurant the other day after I had mentioned my disappointment about the fod and service since a change in ownership. The manager contacted me and said he would love the opportunity to change my mind – and he sent me a gift certificate to encourage me to come back. I grabbed a girlfriend and we gave it another go … and it was much better. Sometimes companies need time to smooth out the rough edges, and hopefully we can be willing to give them grace.

    When I have received less than stellar feedback, it stings for a minute. But I pull up my big girl panties and realize that I have two choices – I can fix what it broken and get back to the business of making people happy, or I can write it off as a blip on the radar and move on. The option that moves me forward it doing the right thing … and it hasn’t failed me yet.

    Thanks, Marie, for the reminder!

  34. Hi Marie,

    My business is new, so I’ve yet to receive any negative reviews. However, your video called to mind my previous boss. When I began working for him, he often said NO to my ideas. At first, I was crushed. Then I started to engage him in conversation that went something like this, “Oh that’s interesting. What do you see? How do you think the program could be improved?” From this place of curiosity, I was able to gain his point of view. My workshops and offerings became much more powerful b/c I was taking into account multiple perspectives. The end result = A+.

    Thanks a million!

    PS: Enjoy your time back in NYC! I’m headed to LA 🙂

  35. This was a timely post Marie. Yesterday I found some not so hot reviews of my perfumes on one of the large fragrance databases. I have been doing my best to look on it as a growth opportunity. Maybe this person, who purchased my perfume was right. Maybe these weren’t the strongest offerings I have in my line. Still it felt badly to me. Then your email arrived. I have watched, and went to leave a comment for the person who was reviewing me, and did all three steps.

    I feel much better about this now.


  36. This is such an important topic. While I haven’t had to handle any direct complaints or negative reviews in my business yet, I remember doing so at past jobs. While building my business I had a customer service oriented “day job” and we received negative feedback and emails fairly often because they were such a large company.

    The number one thing I learned is that people just want to feel HEARD and validated. Oftentimes you can turn someone who appears to be majorly pissed off into a life-time fan by just taking the time to listen to what they have to say… and yes, making it right. It’s not as much about what you did wrong as how you make it right. And sometimes it’s not even about what they’re saying you did, they could just be having a REALLY bad day. xo

  37. Sjorcha Daynes-Todman

    I have always followed the big 3 steps that you mention, no matter how much I had to grit my teeth, afterall I am a consumer as well. I have changed policies, T&C’s but sometimes it’s just not your fault. There is a new genre of complainers emerging that see the monetary benefit such as free products & refunds whilst they still use the product that they complained about. I have a friend who does this professionally and quite proud of it too.
    I do draw the line at the impossible! such a customers demanding to know why they didn’t receive their parcel on Sunday when they bought online Saturday! demanding a refund and still keep the product- excuse me! no postal service and never has been on weekends!

  38. Wei

    Ok, this comment will finally be my admission that I’m a fan and I actually come to this site quite often. 🙂 That being said, I agree! Genuinely responding to negative criticism has saved countless large companies (i.e. JetBlue) from major snafus resulting from poor business decisions. I personally have found that I almost look forward to any constructive criticism that comes my way. It’s really a great opportunity for your viewers, fans, AND potential clients to really see what you’re made of. It’s almost like living in world where everybody is perfectly happy and content…no dimension. I think actually getting criticism will give you or your business more depth. Deep down inside, everybody knows that nobody is “perfect” (whatever perfect really is…). Almost everybody appreciates people that hold themselves accountable for any of their actions. Often times people (the “haters”) criticize JUST to be heard, and if you are the one that hears them and acknowledges them…guess who comes out the winner? (I think that was rhetorical…but just in case, YOU are!) Yet another great video, Marie, you’ve inspired me to get back on my video horse as well. Enjoy your trip!

  39. Beautiful response. Very professional. So great that you pointed out that they took the time to comment. Silent negative reviews can do much more damage because you can’t make it right, as you said. Be open and welcoming because when people know you are listening, they will give you the chance.

  40. I clearly need to re-evaluate my anger management notes because I get SUPER PISSED when someone says something mean just for the hell of it:( It takes everything I have not to get defensive and I normally can’t help myself and just have to say something back.

    Note: This is just for people that are just being mean and nasty for no reason at all.

    I recently became a blogger at Huffington and I wrote a post that garnered a few (very mean) commenters. I responded to them (wish I hadn’t), but I’m finally realizing that I’m putting too much energy into defending myself when in fact some people need to just be ignored-LOL

    The Huffington Post I’m referring to is called: How To Be Amazing When You Suck At Everything (!

    Thanks Forleo!

  41. Wow, really great info. Thanks Marie!

  42. Hi Marie
    I love your approach on how to deal with bad reviews publicly. I would like to add something regarding how to handle the review for yourself. We can even learn from bad reviews even when they are unfounded or simply intentionally nasty, just to bother you (maybe from the competition). Because no matter what the intentions are, they’ll still attack, or perhaps over-attack your weakness. If I told you your hair looks terrible because it’s too long, you might not agree, but at least you know it’s not too short.
    P.S. Your hair is just fine, but if it were short, my example would have been the opposite.

  43. Mo

    Great advice! Thank you so much for sharing!

  44. Love this!

    I find that a lot of people basically say to the Universe “Send me the success, but without ANY criticism” which is virtually impossible. I know that I’ve been guilty of that in the past.

    Truth is – when we’re playing a larger game, things like this will happen – it’s just part of doing business – at least Marie, you’re giving us the great strategies to deal with it!

    Big hugs!
    x Denise

  45. I totally agree with all of your points Marie.
    When running a business you cannot hide your head in the sand and hope that critisicism will go away. You need to take responsibility for it. After all, when any of us put ourselves out there ,we’re always subject to public scrutiny. And therefore having an effective strategy and, of course, a diplomatic approach will show that you care about your customers as well as professionalism.

  46. Spot on! A member of a past business left a scathing review online about my service/business. I jumped on it! I wrote a public apology online and a hand written letter of apology to the member offering her free months service. As it turned out it was a misunderstanding on her part but I did not bring that up ~ I took 100% responsibility. I gave her the option money back but she accepted a couple months free membership. She became one of my biggest fans! She sent me a dozen members and wrote amazing reviews. I believe it was all because I took 100% responsibility.

    Thanks again darlin’ . . . and I hope those glasses are purely for fun ; )

  47. Lucienne

    Good video – I recently experienced a large retail client of ours putting out negative remarks about my partner into the market place and withdrawing a substantial amount of business. Some of the remarks were valid the rest were our client using the situation as an excuse to continue their own bad practise of nepotism with regard to suppliers. The exercise for us was to separate the two issues 1. we are not policemen for their bad business ethics other than to make sure we do not subscribe to them in any way and continue to conduct our business with integrity, and 2. to acknowledge the validy in the criticism. Pretty difficult when the client refuses to take phone calls or acknowledge any emails addressing the issue, sincerely apologising and stating all the steps to rectify the problem (five months worth!). At the very least I was very determined to at least “clear” our name even if no more business came our way. Hmmmm what to do? The client went through major re-structuring, new CEO, new department still involving the same person consistently blocking us, BUT he now has a new boss. I managed to set up an appointment with her laid our cards on the table in a direct manner, was very careful not to defend or “point a finger” in anyway (talk about having to really be in the moment!), recognised the diffiuculty of in house politics and egos, re pitched our company, acknowledged the criticism, discussed the way the criticism had been dealt with and why it would not happen again. The meeting was backed up with an email confirming what was discussed. 8 months later, and in fact later today, a meeting is happening to discuss new projects coming our way with the man who was blocking us! Academically (and not a feminist comment) I do wonder though if this would have been the same result had it of been a man I approached?

  48. Hi Marie,

    I completely agree with your approach. Nobody’s perfect. Eight or nine years ago, I slipped up with two clients.

    One was an associate and friend. I immediately offered my apologies and gave her a discount on the job, and remedied the mistake. She later confided in me that it had immediately taken away any negative feelings on her side. She was impressed by its impact, and remembered it as a good strategy for herself. I had not thought of it as a strategy, in fact had not thought about it at all; it just seemed the right thing to do, period.

    The other person was someone I had not worked with before and did not know. I responded the same way. I had messed up, and I admitted it. He actually later wrote he somewhat regretted his initial harsh words and took part of the blame. He still occasionally contacts me with work.

    That said, some parties may use spreading negative reviews online as a strategy or explanation for not paying, months after a job was completed and no complaints were made, and praise was given for previous jobs (via e-mail, not online). If something like that happens, you will instantly know whether or not the negative review is justified. A web search may turn up similar cases, or at least point in the direction of dubious practices.

    The latter is the type of client you will learn to avoid after some time. When a negative review has appeared online, you could contact the web site, explain what happened, and ask that the negative review be removed. Continuing to dedicate your time and attention to clients that are a joy to work with is more important, however.

  49. Great ideas! Unfortunately sellers on only get a negative strike written on their score card, with no ability to publically respond. And, there is no feature in the etsy system where you can block problem customers from making future purchases. So the seller is basically stuck selling to a person she doesn’t want to do business with. If she cancels a future order from a problem customer, that customer can leave MORE negative feedback regarding the cancelled order! So the seller is basically at the mercy of the buyer. Not a good system.

  50. Jenifer

    I love your 3 steps. So simple, so true.
    I was a long-time, loyal customer of Mango Stores. Naturally, when they started selling online I was thrilled.
    I bought something. It fell apart–no big deal.
    I called to return it; they told me to pay for the shipping and they’d reimburse me–not thrilled but ok.
    They never got back to me–no refund, no contact, no merchandise.
    I got pissed–I contacted my credit card company & the BBB.
    They replied to the BBB, not me, saying that they hadn’t received any other complaints about the item so it couldn’t be defective.
    I insisted that they either return the item or my money–duh!
    They replied to the BBB, “Just this once,” they would refund the cost of the item but tough luck on the shipping.
    No apology, no direct communication with me, no refund for the shipping even though I followed their protocol.

    Now, I HATE MANGO!

    Oh and by the way, total cost for the blouse & shipping, $60.
    I hope it was worth it.

  51. Saida

    Aloha Marie!

    Loved this!!!

    AND everything you said can be applied to life and its conflicts. Excellent advice for living a RICHER human experience!

    Big appreciation!

  52. Great advice Marie! I once left some very bad reviews for a company due to their horrible customer service. I tried contacting them several ways and they ignored me, so I ended up finding a site where there were some other horrible reviews about this same company and I made sure to share my experience with them.

    People usually attempt to express their discontent before they go and write a bad review on some other site. We need to take very good care of our customers and make sure they are 100% (or close to) satisfied. We all make mistakes, and some mistakes can be very costly.

  53. This is really helpful. In May of 2010 I found out a gal I had hired to produce an event for me was a complete fraud. In the thirteen months prior I had gotten to know her really well (funny how that works) and came on board to sponsor 9 regional events. Little did I know she was having a conversation with the rest of the world that had me running her business. Needless to say it almost did me in. A small business doesn’t recover easily from that. HOWEVER, it is what brought me to the here and now, oddly enough. Ready to coach other business owners. Having gained, lost and gained again, I am ready to save other small business owners, mainly holistic health professionals, tens of thousands of dollars!
    Great post!

  54. Hey Everyone!

    Isn’t timing EVERYTHING?!?!?

    I am JUST getting to reading this today. It just so happens that I had to give some negative feedback this VERY afternoon.

    I will say this, being a business owner has made me SUPER aware of how critical I am of others and the service that they are making an attempt to provide. I used to be more than overly critical of customer service reps, waitresses, and those guys at the take out window. I was quick to call an 800 # and let em have it! Mind you, I have worked most of these positions myself in the past, so I know what they are going through. I just felt as though, if I can get it, you can get it. Not nice, but true!

    Owning my own has made me more sensitive and understanding. As a matter of fact, before I will complain these days, I will openly give praise! If someone has done a STELLAR job I ask to speak to their supervisor and gush about how outstanding the service was. I guess it has to do with good business practices ju-ju…so to speak. You know…what goes around comes around.

    Like I said before, I had to give some bad feedback today. I was told a flat out lie by a contractor, and then they voided our contract at the time the project was due. Not cool at all, but I did NOT bash the young woman. I was fair and honest about what happened. I hope that she is able to take your advice Maria, I know I sure will! 😉

    Have a SUPERB Friday guys,

  55. Guuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrllllllllllllllll, you’ve got the best hair. No, this has nothing to do with the video, post, or question BUT I just had to let you know. Considering I shaved my head due to a lice infestation (eeeeeeewwwwwwww) via one of my beloved small children this fall, I am obsessed with all things hair. And yours is fabulous. 🙂

  56. Loved it! Thank you Marie, you always give quality with a nice little laugh =D

  57. Kay

    The first 30 seconds of this video were not a thoughtful use of my time. The rest was.

  58. I had a follow-up question on this. I run a dog walking and pet sitting company. I recently had a client who brought in a dog who we later became aware had violated our policies. We required dogs to be neatly groomed and not destructive to board them. Well, after he was dropped off we discovered he was both destructive and had very sharp, ungroomed nails. (OW!) Long story short, he destroyed stuff, and while the owner was apologetic on the phone, they were critical of us and our policies upon pickup and refused to pay for damages. We went back and forth because we have a pretty firm policy on things like that.

    Anyway, that’s the background. The meat of the matter is this client is threatening to use review sites (Yelp specifically) to attack us if we don’t do things the way she wants. Something of review extortion. How do you deal with something like this, both before she posts it and afterwards. Thank you!

    • Excellent question! Can’t wait to see Marie’s reply . . .

      ‘Using’ Yelp as a threat is unfortunately common. You can reply in an honorable fashion but the negative review is still ‘out there’. I had a client give me a scathing online review years ago. After I cleared up the misunderstanding she not only retracted the negative review but posted a glowing review and sent me several customers. I realize that some customers will never take responsibility for their part in a dispute and instead retaliate with negative online reviews. The key is to always go into a situation with a win-win plan. And that’s where Marie comes in! Good luck with this Scott.

    • marie

      Hey Scott, I’m sorry you’re going through this – totally sucks. If I were you, I’d consider the following:

      1. Use this incident as a lesson. Does your company need to create a new system/checklist to have staff “check” off that a pet has been groomed before they drop them off? Owners can text pictures in as well. Point is, do you guys a system to help prevent this from happening again.

      2. Choose between being rich or being right. It sounds like you guys are in the “right” – this customer did violate your policy, but is pushing this issue going to make you “rich” – both figuratively and financially? Think about what the cost of a really negative review on Yelp would do to your business as well as the cost of goods that you need to replace.

      Is it worth it to keep going back and forth? Think about the mindshare you’ll free up by moving on.

      3. If you feel firm in your convictions, you could let the reviewer post if she’s going to do, that and encourage other, happy customers to reply to it.

      If I were you, I’d go for 1. and 2. 😉

      Let us know how it goes!


      • Thank you so much for your advice – I really appreciate it. Love your videos and your common sense approach to business – quite refreshing.

  59. Hi Marie,
    Though I watched this a while ago, it stuck with me because it was something I would inevitably face. Sure enough, the other week I got a bad review on Amazon and instead of freaking out (for more than a minute) I replied to the comment asking the person to contact me so I can replace the defective product. I also included my direct email. Though the person never contacted me, my response swayed another customer: “Now THAT is customer service. I’d be interested to know if Dan has followed up with Antoinette… I will be putting this in my shopping cart right now because of Antoinette’s helping attitude. (not joking. here goes…. )”! Thanks for ALL your great advice!

  60. rena

    HI Marie. Great advice. I do have a question. I had some1 write a bad (to put it nicely) review and I have never spoken to someone by that name that day or any other day. So either they have my company confused with another (which has happened in the past) OR they wrote it under false pretenses (their name and the review). I had several people read it and they thought she sounded coo coo for coco puffs and it seemed personal. I wanted to respond professionally but the problem I have is 1) some might perceive that if I say I have never spoken with some1 by that name I am making excuses and 2) a core value of mine is truth, so for me to reply like I acknowledge I did speak to this unknown person or that is the way the conversation went makes me feel like I am lying.

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

  61. Honestly I wasn’t going to watch this. I didn’t even want to consider having negative feedback (and to date I wasn’t aware of any I had)…until a random search for something else popped up with one I didn’t even know I’d gotten. Obviously at first, being extremely sensitive, I was upset and hurt about what was said. I was having a hard time meeting certain demands at the time which came across as me slacking in being as prompt as I usually am. HOWEVER, immediately after that incident I re-wrote shipping guidelines to include some things I hadn’t before (specifically dealing with shipping around holidays) and a year and some change later I came across a tool that could help me for those times when I might have trouble getting to the post office.

    • Alright, still me, just an upgrade to my image, website, etc…

      I had something brought to my attention last year by way of an anonymous review. Because it was anonymous and it was not through my own system even I couldn’t really personally respond to it. As a result I had to stop working with someone else because of how they perceived it.

      On one hand I think working with that person may just not have been a great fit for me since there were numerous other problems, on the other hand it pointed out to me a serious flaw in the system that things like that couldn’t even really be addressed.

      So how does one deal with a situation like that?

  62. eathan

    Customer Service is part and parcel of any business venture. But no matter how hard we try to please everybody, we really can’t. This is where comes into rescue. Thanks for a good friend who recommended it through her blog site, I was able to contact Now my online shop selling accessories for youngsters is smoothly sailing again and ready to offer new products soon.

  63. Firstly Marie, cool glasses. As soon as I saw you wearing them, I instantly had an image of a cross between an owl and Ali G popping up in my mind. Very cool!

    Back on topic.

    People, I feel that it’s a two way street when it comes to reviews of any sort. Whenever I read someone saying it’s always automatically their fault when they get a negative review, I wanna shake my head and set them straight.

    I admire companies like 37signals for sticking to their vision instead of always giving customers what they demand.

    The reason?

    They stick to their guns and they’re not afraid to say, “No” when a customer makes a demand that doesn’t fit in with the product’s purpose and direction. As a result, their products are very clean, easy and simple to use instead of ending up like something that’s trying to do and be everything, to please everyone.

    On the flip side, I remember trying out a few products that claimed to do what 37signals were trying to do with their products, and MORE, for a lower price. The difference was huge (not in a good way). They ended up creating horribly bloated, buggy and complex products, which turned me off cold. The result was, the quality of their product just wasn’t up to par.

    Remember writing down your business vision? It’s YOUR company, YOUR product/service, YOU set the rules and the direction.

    It takes real guts to stick to your vision instead of caving into a customer’s demands because of a fear of not being seen in a favourable light.

    One thing to do when you’ve received feedback of any sort is to step back from it and ask yourself if it’s really valid. This requires being fair on yourself, instead of automatically being hard on yourself. Look at your business vision and ask yourself if your business, product or service really fell short somewhere, or is the customer just expressing an opinion?

    That said, I think Marie and some of the others here have given great advice for these times when your company, product or service really has fallen short somewhere.

    • And I forgot to mention, 37 signals were often criticised for not having certain features in their products, or for not being ‘pretty’ to look at, and for being too expensive, etc.

      They still stuck to their guns, whilst handling valid complaints. Their philosophy is their products are to be simple, clean and easy to use. They’re into delivering high quality and they’re happy to sacrifice some features in order to achieve their vision for their company products.

      And that was why I mentioned them in my comment above, along with the difference I found with some of their competitors. I was trying to highlight the importance of having a business vision and using that to help with dealing with criticism. I hope that makes my previous comment clearer.

  64. We just started what can be considered an online complaint service. Allowing customers to write a review and rate businesses at the point of sale. Businesses can decide to either keep the input to themselves or publish it. This lets the company learn where they may need to improve and gives customers the option to complain directly to the business, rather than going to the internet where the business will probably never see the complaint. I’m not sure if I can post a link here but it’s worth a try. is a service that effects change. If customers are unhappy about the service, product, or treatment that they receive then they should be able to notify the business owner so that the situation can be rectified right away. People should get what they pay for and companies need to be held responsible when this does not happen. They also need to know about it. A business should not lose 10% because the housekeeper forgot to leave a new bar of soap, or because the master chef was out sick. Online reviews sites are great and give consumers great power but with great power–well, you know the rest.

  65. Listen. Our clients are helping us.

    My clients and I have a relationship. With all relationships sometimes extra effort is required.

    By ‘listening and doing’ I improve my service and future clients benefit.

    Can I please all the people all the time?

    No, but I can listen and acknowledge and think.

  66. I got a negative review once. The gentleman complained that I was charging for my service and work. I thamked him very much for his time, and offered him a refund for my ebook. Turned out he had pirated it anyway.

    I made myself an extra nice cup of coffee and smirked quietly.

  67. Jane

    I would like to hear more about serious haters and repercussions. What if you get an extremely vicious review that could completely destroy your company and professional reputation. I’m not exaggerating. What if it came from a classic bully type that has already threatened you both verbally and physically? This is a hater review. Ours is a “professional” business that is all about providing confidence, trust, knowledge, skill, etc. This review truly attacks all of those, makes false representations and is full of half truths. Respond or not and how? I’ve been sitting on this for a month.

  68. Joshua

    That was great advice about how to handle negative reviews, Ms. Forleo. by the way, is it okay if I call you Ms. Forleo instead of Marie from here on out? Would you please refer yourself to me as Ms. Forleo from here on out? Would you please strictly enforce, “Ms. Forleo is the only name that I am allowed to call you from here on out” stipulation as well, Ms. Forleo? The reason why I am asking for these favors is because I want to be formal when I communicate with you, Ms. Forleo. I love your big frame glasses you sometimes wear, Ms. Forleo. I have taken some of these advice on how to handle negative feedback and it has made my ebay business much better than ever before. I hope to hear from you soon, Ms. Forleo.


  69. Elizabeth Tse

    Marie, I love this segment! I’m currently in your b-school program this year, and just loving every teaching that you have to offer, whether it’s purely business or in my private life. I currently have an “issue” with my land lord and have been stressed out that the spirit in me has left me really gutted for days. I’m over it now but I still find myself avoiding him. I’m moving my family to a new home where we don’t have to deal with negative energy anymore but at the same time, this video has given me some strength to show a little bit of compassion on how to deal with this awkward situation with my mean landlord. Just kidding, but you certainly know how to show grace and love when needed. And yes, we are all human beings that make mistakes, so for me, I’d love to release the bad energy that he’s created so that I can move on with a clear heart knowing that I can forgive.

  70. Michelle Hughes

    That is nice and all; however, what do you do with bad reviewers who are upset with you because you refused them a special “payment arrangement”.

  71. lindsey

    wow thank you so much for your blog as it i8s realy showing me the areas I failed to manage concerning negative reviews. As a former commenter stated, it is within our human nature to first defend ourselves or our businesses whenever we get a negative review, but it is so important to listen, and to respond sensitively so that your reputation as a person and also as a business is protected. not everyone is going to love your product or service anywhere but creating good relationships is the key to staying on course.

    • Hailey– Team Forleo

      Well said, Lindsey! You’re so right. When we invest so much into our creative work, it’s totally natural to feel protective of it, and that’s a beautiful thing! While receiving negative feedback is never easy, focusing on our deeper purpose can help us acknowledge criticism with grace and find the opportunities for growth. Thanks so much for tuning in!

  72. Confused in couponville

    What do you do when you’re a fairly new business (2 years), have nothing but positive product/customer service reviews on multiple platforms (social, forums, etc.), and suddenly someone, not even an actual customer, threatens a negative customer service review? See, the story is; while we’ve run this business for 2 years, we’ve only been responsible financially since January of 2017. I’m the office manager, and my husband the builds the product and owns the business, that’s it. There’s no other employees. We cannot afford them. Since this is our first year filing taxes, I personally had to file them. I was swamped with that and spent 16+ hours a day, for at least 2 weeks, working on taxes. Most days, I literally only slept like 2-3 hours a day. I’m totally out of my element, as I’ve filed our personal taxes every year, but business and all of the tax nuances; perfectly lost. I spent most of my time googling what goes in which categories and finding receipts (only found about half). Thankfully, TurboTax makes self-employment taxes extremely simple, otherwise I would probably still be working on it, 2 months later. Anywho, the business email got severely backed up in the process. I didn’t feel like I had time to find/delete hundreds of advertisements that that constantly flood the inbox daily. I can’t mark them as “spam”, because we actually purchase from these companies, and not all of them have different email addresses for marketing and purchases, very few actually, so inbox “rules” are difficult. Within all these backed up emails, that I was too overwhelmed to deal with, was a contact from a potential customer, asking me to give him a discount in exchange for a positive review. Wha?!?!?! Do companies actually do this?? I politely declined, outlined the current discounts that we provide, and explained that our company would prefer to earn our positive reviews, such as we had always done. I also stated that I wouldn’t want to purchase a product from a company that basically purchased fraudulent positive reviews. I’m not sure if it was that, that set him off, but he came back with a very nasty response about how our company wouldn’t want an honest review from him, because in his experience it was negative. He contacted originally with that question on February, 25th 2018. There was no name attached to that email, so I had no knowledge of previous contact, nor did he mention it in his initial follow-up response, in which he added a sentence, making it seem as if he HAD actually placed an order and it went ignored. Therefore, I replied again, requesting the information from that order, but stating I had no order from that email address. When he replied to that, he stated how he had called multiple times and spoke with me, and I was supposed to get back to him, and didn’t. I have no recollection of that, but I’m also not perfect, yet still no name. I tried to explain how busy we had been with taxes, orders, etc. When he responded to THAT, he proceeded to tell me how we should run our business and we should commit 100% to the business, which I wholeheartedly agree with, but my husband works full time outside of the business, just to pay our personal bills, as the business income is just enough to support the business and we would lose our house if we depended on it for a paycheck. It’s new and building it takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work. I personally devote 100% of my time to this business, but I have MS, and sometimes I get overwhelmed. Sometimes, I have to focus on one task at a time. He stated that he called multiple times and never got an answer. All I can figure that was, was either he called after office hours, or on one of the 2 days that I shut the business cell off, in order to complete taxes, and didn’t leave a voicemail. That was likely a mistake, as I didn’t put it “out there” that we would be closed those 2 days, I just was so overwhelmed, that I couldn’t think at that particular moment. Anyway, he said that he planned to “smear” us all over, everywhere on both our product, and my customer service. I pride myself on customer service, I just don’t do well with snarky remarks, customers or not. I reply in an equally snarky tone. I personally do not feel like the “customer” or contact is always right. It’s that attitude that makes people think they can steamroll all over small businesses just trying to get by such as ours, and I don’t cater to them either. Nor, will I. I guess my question is; how am I supposed to deal with the very first negative review from someone who was never, and apparently never will be, a customer? Most of our customers are very understanding when we get behind, probably all of them in a “not so cooperative” way. I honestly have no idea how to handle a negative review, that is a direct result of my disability and/or lack of funds to hire help. We are already being discounted and free shipped out of business. What more do these people want??


    I am in my first month at this great accounting firm and I am a little worry. I was not told in the beginning that I am classified as an “intern” until I almost finished my first week of work. And the person I found out from was not my manager but my colleague! That just kind of brought me down. When I talked with my manager she said the boss will see after tax season is over to tell me about my performance. In two more weeks is when tax season will be done and just the other day I talked with my manager about my performance. She did listed out a lot of things that I need to improve but that was more toward in the beginning of “internship” so she told me she will tell me next week after she review all of my tax returns. I have never been so anxious in my life. I am worried about the performance review and if I am going to stay at the firm. All of my other colleagues was promised a position but I think they were set since they were at the company since January. Am I being too pessimist? Or is there something wrong with my thinking?

    • Hailey- Team Forleo

      Hi there, Helen! Congratulations on your new position at the accounting firm, though I’m sorry that it hasn’t been everything you envisioned so far. As you may know, Marie is a big advocate for the power of good “bridge jobs” as they can help us gain the experience and stability we need to pursue our dreams. However, when it comes to any job it’s important to feel respected, valued, and supported, so you’re not wrong in wanting some clarification around your role with the company. The foundation for building trust is communication, so I’d love to encourage you to set a time to speak with your manager, sooner rather than later, so you can determine the best fit for you moving forward. In the meantime, I’d love to share a few episodes of MarieTV that may give you an extra boost of clarity and confidence:

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