How to turn a harsh online review and a 1-star rating into a positive thing for your gym!

CrossFit London in Ontario received a call recently from a man who wanted to drop for a workout just to try the gym out.

As many CrossFit gyms do—for quality control and safety reasons—CrossFit London doesn’t let just anyone show up untrained and try the gym. Instead, they offer an assessment first with a coach before they come up with an effective plan of action for the new member.

This guy, however, assumed he was already fit enough, and when his request for a free drop-in workout was turned down, he took to the Internet and gave CrossFit London a piece of his mind and handed them a poor 1-star rating in the process.

“Apparently I can’t even pay to do a one time workout because I’m not a CrossFit athlete already?” he wrote.

“Despite being fitter than most the people I see in your pictures…cool. …Let me know when you’re read to open your doors to the people who want to workout.”

If you’re an affiliate owner, you’re probably feeling empathy for CrossFit London right now. Because of Dave Henry’s diligence in ensuring a responsible quality control policy, he receives a 1-star rating and harsh words from an angry stranger online! Unfair, right?

While your instinct might be to ignore the bad review so as not to draw attention to yourself and kindly ask your current members for Facebook and Google reviews to push the negative review down, Henry, who has 10 years of experience as a CrossFit coach, took the opposite approach: Instead of hiding the bad press, he exposed the 1-star rating publicly as a way to educate his clients and prospective clients about what CrossFit London is all about. He posted the bad review to social media for all to see and included the following words in his post.

"We're sorry that you feel upset that you were turned away after requesting a free drop-in workout at our facility after you declined a complimentary No Sweat Intro we offer to all new potential members. We have strict rules in place about new people we've never met before wanting to drop-in for a one-time workout, especially if they've never done CrossFit training before. That's because as coaches, our priority first and foremost is to create a SAFE, fun, and supportive training environment for our members who regularly workout at our gym. We welcome people of all fitness levels, shapes, sizes...," he wrote.

The result: Henry's post received 14,811 impressions with no paid advertising, as well as 299 likes and endless positive comments about how much people love his gym. On top of this, his current members have been flocking online unprompted to leave their positive reviews and dish out 5-star Facebook and Google ratings.

Henry then followed this up with an advertisement for his gym that has reached thousands so far, his most effective ad to date.

A highly effective way of turning a 1-star review into a positive thing for your business!