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How to use negative reviews to help your business


Nov 7, 2018 9:52:03 AM

It’s time to re-think negative reviews. You may mistakenly think reviews from dissatisfied consumers are detrimental to your business and something to ignore at all costs. Thinking this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

When managed properly, unhappy consumers can become your greatest marketing asset.

Negative reviews provide potential customers with honest and accurate feedback

We’ve written before about how potential shoppers look for transparent accounts of customer interactions with a business. They seek out both good and bad reviews. 

They want to hear what’s really going on behind the scenes, and if they encounter only positive reviews, they’re more likely to be sceptical of your business. Bad reviews show your company is run by humans, just like them.

Negative reviews are sought out by your potential consumers

A study by G2Crowd found that negative reviews receive an average of 200% – 300% more clicks than positive reviews. The reason? Shoppers are looking for no-holds-barred, candid reviews that give them a sense of what your business does well, and the areas that can be improved upon.

And you can’t improve on areas you don’t know need improving.

All businesses receive negative reviews from time to time

As the saying goes, “there’s no pleasing everyone”, and despite your best efforts, it’s likely that you’ll receive reviews from less than happy consumers. 

Whether this is down to an actual problem with your product or services, or merely someone who’s having a bad day and is venting online, is not the point. What is important, is the way you handle this negative feedback in the public eye.

When managed properly, you can use negative reviews to your advantage. Here’s how:

Don’t shy away from negative feedback

Negative reviews are part and parcel of operating a business in a world where the majority of communication happens online. Instead of ignoring negative reviews, respond to them (ideally through a trusted, third-party review site). 

A willingness to engage with negative reviews shows potential consumers that you’re transparent, which fosters trust – a quality that’s pivotal to acquiring and retaining consumers in this day and age where authenticity is so important. 

In fact, “95% of unhappy customers return to your business if their issue was resolved quickly and efficiently,” reports Social Media Today.

Respond to every negative comment ASAP

A fast, professional response acknowledging a consumer’s frustration is the first step into turning them into a happy customer. Time is of the essence – the longer you leave a negative review unacknowledged, the higher the chance that prospective consumers will think that you don’t care about them. 

Prioritise timely responses – the faster you reply, the quicker an unhappy customer can be converted into a happy one.

Keep your cool at all times

Remember, online reviews play out on the public sphere, and potential shoppers will make a purchasing decision based on the way you’ve previously handled negative feedback. 

For this reason, becoming defensive, belittling the reviewer, or lashing out should be avoided at all times. Keep in mind that consumers aren’t only evaluating the content of negative reviews, they’re also evaluating the way you respond and deal with the issues at hand. 

In order to instil trust in potential consumers, ensure all communication between your business and someone who’s posted a negative review remains professional, courteous and importantly, offers a viable solution to their issue.

Ask your consumer to reconsider their review

As soon as you’ve addressed and resolved a customer complaint, approach them and ask them if they’re willing to write an updated review. 

When potential customers see you've acknowledged and offered a solution to negative feedback, and a disgruntled consumer is now satisfied, they’re more willing to trust your business. 

Marketing expert Mack Collier explains that when a business responds to negative reviews “33% (of customers) turned around and posted a positive review.” He also goes on to explain that 18% of these people will become loyal consumers or brand advocates.

Use negative reviews as a source of insight to understand your consumers

While some negative reviews can be the result of a consumer having a bad day, other reviews will be legitimate. They’ll highlight issues with your business that require attention. This feedback is invaluable – it indicates the areas that you can improve upon. 

Create a list of action items that can be fixed immediately, for example, a broken phone line or a faulty product that requires replacing. 

The next step is to create a plan of action to address issues that will take a little more time and effort to resolve (for example, delayed delivery times, or adding additional payment options for your customers). 

Negative reviews are a gold mine of information. Make sure you’re utilising them to the best of your company’s ability.

Reviews on Hellopeter have helped over one million consumers make better choices. Had an experience you’d like to tell us about? Leave us a review here.

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