Bad Reviews: The Four Stages of Emotion


Upon discovering a negative review about themselves on line, a lot of business owners first response is often disbelief or denial. They may deny that the post exists or that it can in anyway harm the business. Many in the denial stage often ignore the problem This is a natural reaction but those who remain in denial for too long risk damaged relationships.


Once the business owner has accepted the fact that the review is causing a situation, he/she moves from denial to anger. Businesses who have experience a bad review on line may find someone or something to blame for the situation. As the business owned learns that there is no way to remove the review they may blame their employees, vendors, product, themselves or the customer. Business owners in the anger stage may be irritable, have short tempers or lash out at the person who wrote the review or the employee who the review is written about. They often don’t realize that their anger will only make the situation worse until it is too late.


After awhile, anger fades and leaves behind despair and in severe cases where there are many bad reviews, depression. Calls to the companies attorney produce no results. Emails and letters to Yelp or another review site only reveal that there is no way to have it removed. At this point, the business owner may feel as if the situation is hopeless and permanent. They may be overwhelmed and start to believe that there reputation and their business will never improve. The primary emotion during the depression stage is sadness.

Acceptance and Hope

At this stage of the process, anger and sadness have begun to fade and the business owner begins to accept the fact that there is a problem that must be dealt with. He/she begins to realize that they can overcome the bad reputation and avoid bad reviews in the future by being proactive. People at this stage often try to find hope in the situation. They look for lessons they can learn. This stage of the process is where the businesses reputation can start to recover.

 Reputation Management and Reputation Marketing

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