5 Ways to Handle Negative Race Reviews

As a popular Pinterest saying goes, ‘You can’t make everyone happy. You’re not a jar of Nutella.’ The same is true when organizing and hosting a race. Periodically, someone will be unhappy about something you did (or didn’t do) and multiple negative reviews can cause up to a 70-percent loss of business. As a race organizer, how you handle a negative review will make the biggest impact on the number of customers you retain. Here are five ways to turn a negative review around:

  1. Google Yourself – You can’t fix what you don’t know, so regularly scrutinize your reviews. It will help you get a handle on a bad review before it spirals out of control, and also help you spot any patterns. For example, if a handful of reviewers say your registration process is too complicated, it’s worth investigating for ways to improve.
  2. Open a Dialogue – No one likes being criticized, but avoid responding to a negative review with a negative attitude. Instead take a deep breath before you reply. Remember, other reviewers can see how you handle the situation, which can work in your favor if you respond in a timely and professional manner.
  3. Keep a Positive Tone – Acknowledge the problem: ‘We’re sorry to hear you had a hard time registering for our race.’ Ask their opinion: ‘Would you mind telling us what would have made it better, so we can correct it for future races?’ Many negative reviews can be diffused when a positive tone is projected.
  4. Extend an Offer – Sometimes a bad review warrants more than just words to help smooth things over. If you feel that’s the case, offer appropriate compensation. For example, offer to pay some or all of the registration fee for an upcoming race. Remember, you can’t compensate everyone, so use your best judgment on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Toot Your Horn – Yelp uses an algorithm to determine a review’s legitimacy before posting it live. Because of this, sometimes positive reviews end up hidden in their filtered reviews section, which is at the bottom of each page. Look for these reviews and then give them exposure in your responses or post on social media.

Ready to organize a race or other running event? Start planning your next event on Events.com.