Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Ouch That Hurt: 5 Tips to Overcome Bad Reviews

November 16, 2020 Julie Ball Episode 48
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Ouch That Hurt: 5 Tips to Overcome Bad Reviews
Chapters
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Ouch That Hurt: 5 Tips to Overcome Bad Reviews
Nov 16, 2020 Episode 48
Julie Ball

#048 - As subscription box business owners, we always want to delight our subscribers. We want them to feel excited and have a good experience when they open their box. But that's not always the case. Sometimes, we have disappointed customers and we get bad reviews.  It comes with the territory, no matter what type of business you run.

In this episode, Julie gets a little bit personal talking about bad reviews. She's going to walk us through her recent experience getting bad reviews and give us 5 tips on how to overcome them.

Summary:

  • Knowing your ideal target audience (00:02:05)
  • Your mission (00:03:25)
  • Tip No. 1: Evaluate. Is there substance? (00:05:20)
  • Tip No. 2: Communicate (00:05:59)
  • Tip No. 3: Learn and Pivot (00:07:10)
  • Tip No. 4: Create a love note folder (00:09:16)
  • Tip No. 5: Practice self-care (00:10:52)

For more tips like this, make sure you are subscribed to our email list at SubscriptionBoxBootcamp.com. You will be notified when new episodes go live or when we have new resources dropping. If you are ready to start your own subscription box, Subscription Box Bootcamp is going to be open over Black Friday holiday shopping weekend at a $300 discount. Get on our email list so you are the first to know when we open enrollment.

Links:

Sparkle Hustle Grow
Subscription Box Bootcamp
SUBTA

Show Notes Transcript

#048 - As subscription box business owners, we always want to delight our subscribers. We want them to feel excited and have a good experience when they open their box. But that's not always the case. Sometimes, we have disappointed customers and we get bad reviews.  It comes with the territory, no matter what type of business you run.

In this episode, Julie gets a little bit personal talking about bad reviews. She's going to walk us through her recent experience getting bad reviews and give us 5 tips on how to overcome them.

Summary:

  • Knowing your ideal target audience (00:02:05)
  • Your mission (00:03:25)
  • Tip No. 1: Evaluate. Is there substance? (00:05:20)
  • Tip No. 2: Communicate (00:05:59)
  • Tip No. 3: Learn and Pivot (00:07:10)
  • Tip No. 4: Create a love note folder (00:09:16)
  • Tip No. 5: Practice self-care (00:10:52)

For more tips like this, make sure you are subscribed to our email list at SubscriptionBoxBootcamp.com. You will be notified when new episodes go live or when we have new resources dropping. If you are ready to start your own subscription box, Subscription Box Bootcamp is going to be open over Black Friday holiday shopping weekend at a $300 discount. Get on our email list so you are the first to know when we open enrollment.

Links:

Sparkle Hustle Grow
Subscription Box Bootcamp
SUBTA

(00:01): So you want to launch a subscription box and don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach and your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper and let's have some fun!

(00:20): Hey everybody and welcome to Subscription Box Basics. I'm Julie Ball, your subscription box coach and the host of this podcast. I'm so glad that you are here to join me today. Buckle up because I'm going to get a little bit personal. This is something that I want to share with everybody. Not only to encourage you, but also to make you feel not so alone. Today, we're talking about bad reviews. We've all had bad reviews. It just comes with the territory, no matter what type of business you run. When you're putting yourself out there, you run the risk of getting haters, bad reviews, or just otherwise disappointed customers.

(01:06): So obviously our goal is to delight everyone with your subscription box. When they open it up, you want them to feel so excited about what they've received. You want them to feel excited about the entire experience, whether it's a box of goodies or if there's a community, or if there's other experiential factors. You want to just delight everybody. But it's inevitable that there are going to be some people that just aren't into you. And so I want to talk about that today. I'm going to tell you my five tips to get through bad reviews. This is something that I wanted to talk about because it's fresh on my mind. We just went through a round of this, where we got more bad reviews than we normally do. So apparently we didn't knock it out of the park this time for some people, some people absolutely loved our box this month.

(01:55): And so I want to talk through it while I'm still a little bit in my emotions so that I can be very authentic with you and really just let you know how I'm feeling and how I get through this. So a few things I want you to keep in mind before I dish my top five tips to get through bad reviews is first, you really need to know who your ideal target audience is. So I like to walk my students through an exercise that helps them really understand who their ideal target audience is and what pain points specifically they are trying to solve with their subscription box. And we go, as far as naming that ideal target customer, finding out everything we can about them. Where they shop? Are they married? Do they have kids? What are some of their habits and hobbies? What's their income? What type of job do they have? What type of magazines do they read? I mean, everything think, get as deep as you possibly can with this one ideal target customer. And then you create your marketing to speak to them. Now that doesn't mean that's the only person you're going to attract. There are going to be some outliers. People that don't fit that exact profile that you kind of created, and that's okay. There's going to be outliers. But sometimes those outliers are going to be the people who might not get it. Maybe they don't get the product, or maybe don't get the concept or the mission that you are trying to do with your box.

(03:25): Another thing you need to keep in mind is that mission. What do you want to do? What do you want to change? What pain point do you want to solve? And I want you to really think hard on this because sometimes the people that are going to give you bad reviews, maybe aren't aware of that mission. Maybe they didn't read your website, or maybe they didn't read your marketing or your ad or whatever it is. And maybe it's just not a good fit for them. So that's something to keep in mind. And then guys, sometimes it's not you. Sometimes someone's just having a bad day and you just happen to be the person that they're taking it out on. Maybe they're unhappy in life. Maybe they had a bad experience or they're in a bad mood. And then they opened your box and it was just the perfect opportunity for them to vent. And sometimes that's going to happen in those cases. If there's no constructive criticism, if there's nothing that you can learn from, no substance, you guys truly got to bless and release it.

(04:25): These types of reviews are going to happen. Oftentimes they're going to be all caps. Sometimes you can even read into them that that person just isn't happy. And especially in this volatile environment that we're living in 2020 had a pandemic. It was an election year. There was all kinds of crazy stuff going on business, life as an entrepreneurs. Our lives were up and down as rollercoasters. People who are working corporate jobs or other types of gig work, they may have lost their businesses. They may have lost their jobs. And so when they're spending their money with something that you've created, maybe it hit them at the wrong time. Maybe it arrived damaged, or maybe it just wasn't for them. Sometimes they're going to take it out on you. So those are some things to keep in mind.

(05:14): Now let's move into my top five tips to get you through those bad reviews. So the first thing is you need to evaluate when you get that bad review. Is there substance there? Meaning, did they give you any reasons why they didn't like it? Did they say something was broken? Did they say they didn't think it was worth the price? Did they say anything specific that you can take from, reflect on and learn from? If it's someone just being angry, you guys, you can't really learn from that. So think about that. The first step here is to dive into that review and try to identify if there's any substance that you can learn from.

(05:59): The second thing is to communicate. So we kind of look at this as a two-step process. One, if they left a public review, you want to communicate with them and respond to it publicly. So this will show the public that you have an engaged customer service. You want to make it right. And if they've made any unsubstantiated or incorrect claims, this is an opportunity to kind of clear the air. Now you want to make sure that you approach this public response in a professional manner, and you want to make that person heard. You want to give them a resolution or explain something if there was a misunderstanding, and then you want to always thank them for giving you a try. The second part of this communication is to privately reach out to them. You want to look them up in your system, email them. Find their email address and email them and respond privately and see if you can make good. Again, thank them for giving you a try. Try to find a resolution. And essentially you want to make sure that you're not burning any bridges. So that's the second step is to communicate.

(07:10): The third step here is to learn and pivot. If you have learned anything from this bad review, how can you make changes? When we get a bad review here at Sparkle Hustle Grow, our team talks about it. We look deeper into it. We talk about, you know, is this something that we have a widespread problem with? Is this an isolated incident? Is this something that we need to talk to a vendor about? Or is this something we need to look at the operations and the overall mission of our subscription box? What can we change if necessary? Have we learned anything that we can change to improve the overall experience? Now, sometimes again, you won't be able to. Sometimes you are just on the receiving end of a bad day, where someone has given you a poor review, but a lot of times there could be something that you can learn from and then make changes. And I don't remember where I heard this. So I can't say who said it, but I've heard this phrase before. If nothing changes, nothing changes. So make sure that you are making any changes that are necessary based off of frequent bad reviews. Maybe it's going to bring a widespread issue to your attention, and then you can pivot and improve that. Or maybe not. So again, number three is learn and pivot.

(08:32): Okay. So number four is coming at this in a different direction. The first three tips that I gave you to get through bad reviews were really about the business and learning from those reviews, changing things if necessary. And now the last two tips are going to be more personal because I don't know if you're like me, but when we get a bad review, ouch, it hurts. We have put our heart and soul into this. There's a lot of work that goes into creating not only a product, but a subscription product and an experience beyond getting the box of goodies. And so these last two tips are going to be things that can help you through it emotionally and personally.

(09:16): So number four's tip is to create a love notes folder. So we have a love notes folder in my iPhone. And it's a shared photo album with my team. Now you could create this as a folder in your Google drive or your Dropbox, or you could create it anywhere else, maybe screenshot somewhere. But what we do is along the way, when we get really, really good reviews or a review, that's just really touching, or it just hits exactly on what your mission is, screenshot or save that whether it's in an email or maybe it was on social media, or maybe someone left it as a review on your website, save those. Because when we go through bad reviews, there's nothing better to get through it than to look back on some of those love notes and read through the good reviews and remind yourself that you are working hard and you are changing lives, and you're doing a good job. You want to make sure that you also look at the substance of the good reviews so that you can see where you're knocking it out of the park and continue to pour into those areas. So I suggest that you create a love notes folder and share it with your team if you have other team members, it's a great way to share with them so that you guys can all be on the same page. If anyone's having a bad day or feeling really down because of a bad review, you could always look back at those love notes and kind of fill up that tank again, refill your bucket with the words of affirmation from happy subscribers.

(10:52): And then the last tip that I have for you to get through bad reviews is some self care. Now, I don't know if you're like me, but when I have a handful of bad reviews, or if people are being nasty, I feel that deep in my soul. And sometimes it even manifests physically, whether that makes me sick to my stomach, or maybe I get a headache something like that. This past week or two, when we got a few more negative reviews than normal, I felt ill. Like it just brought me down. It made me feel burned out. And what I did was give myself permission to take a sick day.

(11:35): Sometimes that's so hard as an entrepreneur. We're like, go, go, go all the time. Where sometimes in these season of hustle, but I gave myself permission to take a sick day. I told my team that I would be offline and that I was taking a sick day and I just relaxed. I drank some tea, I ate good food, drank some green juice. I relaxed and watch some things on TV. I watched Hamilton, which makes me happy cause I love the soundtrack. And so I did that sick day. And then I did a morning of self-care the day after. I treated myself to some things that were going to refill that bucket. And for me, it looked like this. I had breakfast at Chick-fil-A. I love the chicken minis. I can't help it. And that unsweet tea, just as delicious. Then I went and had a massage. After that, I went to target and did some shopping, just so happens that retail therapy is one of those things that fills my bucket. So I got some shopping done for Christmas. I am all prepared now for our elf on the shelf. His name is Elfie. He's coming back to her house December 1st. I have a nine-year-old daughter so she loves that. So I went to target and got a handful of things that I can use as props for our elf on the shelf. And I treated myself to an iced mocha at Starbucks. And I just listened to some really good music, listened to a podcast. And that morning filled my bucket and I was able to show up that afternoon with such a renewed spirit and a better attitude. And an 'I can do it' type attitude and was ready to make some changes.

(13:17): I learned from a lot of those reviews. I know I can't please everyone every single time, but I'm still going to try. I'm going to try harder to figure out what our subscribers want. I want to make sure that we're communicating properly in our marketing messages. So we've learned from some of these reviews that we need to tweak our marketing message. So after taking a sick day and doing that, self-care, I felt so much better to come back to work and tackle what I need to do and what my team needs to do to improve things. To communicate, we sent out surveys so we can get some personal feedback. And we are looking at all of these reviews. We are going to publicly respond to them and we are going to shift a few things to make sure that we are fulfilling the mission and we are communicating it well through our marketing message.

(14:15): So I hope this was helpful. Again, my top five tips to get through bad reviews is number one, is there substance?; Number two, communicate; Number three, learn from it and pivot, make some changes if necessary; Number four, on a more personal note, to create your love notes folder on your phone or your Google drive; and number five, practice self-care before you get back into it.

(14:40): So again, I hope that was helpful. Thank you for listening today. Before I sign off today, I wanted to follow up. If you listened to last week's episode, I talked about adding add-ons in our checkout flow and how it has improved our average cart value. And I'm still super excited about it. I wanted to give you an update. We quickly after adding it to our checkout flow sold out of the previous month boxes from our excess inventory. And so we had to take it down for a couple days and then we shipped out our November boxes and now we've added our November boxes as our add-on. So if someone subscribes today, they are reserving their December box and we are offering them November's box at checkout as well. And while we were converting at about 25% before, it's leveled out a little bit now that we are picking up steam with getting more and more subscribers. We are right around 15% of our new subscribers adding that last month's box as an add-on at checkout, which is still super exciting. But I wanted to update you guys.

(15:49): You know, when we first added it out of the gate, it was hot and heavy about a quarter of our new subscribers were adding it on and now we've leveled out at about 15%. I will keep you guys updated over the next few episodes if that changes. But guys, it has made a huge difference. And I highly suggest that you add some sort of add-on during your checkout flow, your new subscriber flow, whether that's last month's box, or maybe just an item that you have from the shop in excess inventory. And there you have it. That's your update.

(16:22): I hope you guys had fun at Sub Summit. We went to Sub Summit last week and we were nominated for the Cube Awards as a best customer experience nominee. I was so excited to be nominated and congratulations to all the winners.

(16:39): If you guys, aren't a part of that already head over to subta.com, make sure you get involved in that. If you like this podcast and you want to support it, the best way you can support me is to subscribe and rate it. Or you can head on over to SubscriptionBoxBootcamp.com and get on our email list so you are in the loop when we make announcements, when we drop new episodes. And if you are ready to start your own subscription box guys, Subscription Box Bootcamp is going to be open over Black Friday holiday shopping weekend at a $300 discount. So head over to SubscriptionBoxBootcamp.com, get on our email list so you are the first to know when we opened enrollment with that $300 discount. So until then, thanks for joining me today and I'll see you in the next episode.