Despite your best efforts, your business may receive negative online reviews from time to time. While this may seem like a signal to pack up shop and try your hand at something else, it’s not. In fact, there are several reasons why bad reviews can actually help your business in the long (and short) run.
Negative reviews paint your brand as transparent and authentic – the two characteristics consumers value the most in a brand. And when handled correctly, you can use negative reviews to demonstrate your willingness to put the consumer’s experience front and centre.
Even the most well known brands receive negative online reviews, and offline. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t go out of your way to deliver exceptional customer service. Bad reviews and mistakes happen, and you can either see these for the opportunity they are, or let them damage your reputation. A negative review is a chance to improve your offering, and in turn, gain more consumers and increase sales.
While some negative reviews contain insights about areas your business can improve upon, some sub-par reviews are merely the result of someone who’s having a bad day, or an individual who finds fault with everything – even great customer experiences.
They might’ve had a different expectation as to what they received, or they might just have gotten out on the wrong side of the bed. Regardless of whether negative feedback is indicative of an actual problem, it’s crucial you remain professional and acknowledge this feedback.
Let’s say you run a local restaurant. While one person may post about their disappointing dinner, saying their food arrived ice-cold, another may post about how much they love your eatery, but are annoyed that it’s fully booked for the next two weeks.
Technically, both are negative reviews. While the former addresses a real problem that you need to solve, the latter simply alerts you to the fact that your business is in-demand.
See negative reviews as a chance to demonstrate the ways in which your business is willing to go out of its way to ensure that every single consumer is a happy one.
Sup-par reviews work for you in two ways:
In turn, this boosts consumer trust in your brand. People are generally wary of any business that only has good reviews. In fact, AdRoll reports that “if the feedback on a site is entirely positive, 95% of visitors believe the reviews are fake or company-screened”.
Your consumers value honest feedback above all else, which is why negative reviews (when offset by positive reviews) play a crucial role in showcasing your business as transparent and authentic.
If attending to negative reviews sounds like a lot of effort, consider the following: it’s far cheaper to retain a consumer than it is to find a new one. Finding and converting shoppers into consumers is a costly affair, which means you need to do everything in your power to ensure your existing clients are as happy as possible. This is why responding to negative reviews in a friendly and efficient manner is necessary.
It’s almost impossible to give consumers a realistic idea of what to expect from your goods and services prior to purchase – which is why online reviews from past shoppers are so important.
Negative reviews play the crucial role of providing shoppers with transparent feedback about the way you handle customer complaints. If a consumer cannot determine how you’ll respond to negative feedback, they’ll search for reviews of an alternative business that gives them the full picture.
If you don’t know what your consumers are saying about your business, it’s impossible to meet (and hopefully exceed) their expectations.
Negative reviews provide you with invaluable insight into consumer sentiment, and importantly, the reason why you received a negative review to begin with. Remember, not all negative reviews are due to flaws in your product or service, but the ones that are, provide an opportunity to continually improve your offering.
Online reviews provide you with an easy (and cost effective) way of gathering information about your consumers and what they expect from your business.
When you respond to online reviews quickly and courteously, potential consumers can see that they’re valued and their experience with your business matters.
It also shows potential consumers that you are transparent about all dealings with your business. Remember, shoppers pay attention to the way you handle issues, which is why it’s crucial you reply to each and every bad review on a review site that’s accessible by the public.
Negative reviews are not a sign that you should shrug your shoulders and walk away from your business. In fact, they’re quite the opposite.
If someone cares enough to write a review – even if it’s a negative one – it’s an indication they want to have their issue acknowledged and resolved. It’s therefore in your best interest to attend to all negative reviews as quickly and politely as possible.
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