Just like the popular bumper sticker says, Bad Feedback Happens. Oh, wait. It’s doesn’t say that? Hmm, well, it should.

Sometimes bad feedback happens to good sellers. But what should you do if you find yourself dinged with bad feedback be it a neutral, a dinged DSR or just an old fashioned negative feedback?

I just got some negative feedback. What do I do?

  1. Once you cool off, consider the feedback rationally. Our gut reaction is that all negative feedback is unfair. Take as long as you need to rant about the unfairness of the feedback to your spouse, neighbors, therapist, etc but then come back when you have cooled off and really read what the person wrote. Even the most irrational bad feedback has a grain of truth in it and is reflective of a problem beneath the surface even if what they might be saying doesn’t match the issue. Try to think like the buyer and figure out why they feel wronged.  
  2. Contact the buyer and try to work things out. On most marketplaces, including eBay, there is a system in place by which feedback can be removed. Once you have calmed down and are ready to honestly work with your buyer (and not pick and fight with them), contact them and see what would correct the situation. Would a return, a partial refund, or a coupon for a future purchase make this situation right? You never know if you don’t ask and sometimes a negative feedback can turn an angry buyer into a loyal customer.
  3. Take measures to avoid bad feedback in the future. If the buyer had a legitimate complaint, take a moment to evaluate how you can correct the issue that caused it for future sales. If the buyer’s bad feedback is based on a misunderstanding or other faulty logic that is truly (once you have honestly looked at it rationally) no fault of your own, consider how you can avoid misunderstandings or issues like this in the future. Even if the buyer is dead wrong, there are ways for you, the seller, to work on making sure to steer future buyers right.
  4. Sell more stuff! The feedback on most marketplaces works on the law of averages. One bad feedback out of 100 is going to do a lot more damage than 1 bad feedback out of 10,000 so the sooner you complete some new sales, the sooner you’ll have some more positive feedbacks to raise your feedback average. Even if your marketplace site doesn’t work on an average system, a few more positive feedbacks will push the negative farther down the list and out of the buyer’s sight. 
  5. Get that dirt off your shoulder! Once you’ve done everything you can do to make the buyer happy and avoid the problem in the future, just get on with business and forget about it. It may seem difficult but dwelling on past problems isn’t going to help your business in the long run. Put the bad feedback behind you and get back to doing what you do.

I think any of use who have been in this business for any length of time have some bad feedback horror stories. If you want to share a situation you remember and how it turned out below, we’d love to hear it!