How To Make Negative Reviews Work For Your Business


If there’s one thing business owners have learned in 2019, it’s that they should strive to accumulate as many positive reviews as possible. Imagine a consumer who is torn between two restaurants. Typically, the restaurant with the higher review score will get that consumer’s business.

That’s how it should be, frankly. Businesses who provide top-tier service in terms of quality of product and customer service should be rewarded for their commitment to excellence. But even the most top-rated businesses attract negative reviews.

In most instances, this would be something to worry about. However, not every negative review is bad. In fact, a few bad reviews may be the proverbial gift that keeps on giving. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

Not all negative reviews are bad for your business

Have you ever gone to Amazon, or another online shopping platform and felt compelled to read the negative reviews of a top-rated product? You’re not alone.

A 2017 study by Power Reviews revealed that 97% of consumers rely on product reviews to make purchasing decisions. However, 85% of consumers look to negative reviews before finishing the transaction. Why does this happen? The answer is obvious, yet surprising.

People who are drawn to negative reviews are naturally preparing themselves for a worst-case scenario. That’s the theory anyway.

Consumers also want to feel in control. If they can imagine you at your worst (which may not be all that bad in their eyes), they may feel more confident in their ability to handle a negative outcome should it occur.

Consumers are also looking for an authentic experience. Businesses who have been in operation for a number of years will inevitably garner a few negative reviews. How was the situation handled? Was it resolved? Was it swept under the rug?

A business with a spotless record may come off as disingenuous. In this way, having too many positive reviews might actually hurt your business.

Using negative reviews to your advantage

Let’s keep one thing in perspective here – it’s much better to have positive reviews than negative reviews, obviously. But when negative reviews do occur, it’s the actions you take next that will determine if you can use them to your advantage.

Expediency is the key. Customers expect you to respond to their complaints without delay. On average, the expectation is that most businesses should respond to a customer inquiry within 7 days or less.

Ignoring customer complaints/reviews and attempting to bury them beneath a mountain of positive reviews will only serve to have a negative impact on your reputation. Your customers will get to the truth of the matter no matter how hard you try to hide it.

The best way to tackle a negative review is to reply with transparency and honesty. Admit to your mistake, offer a refund or another way to compensate for the bad experience (if appropriate), and you’ll find that a very negative situation can be used to your advantage.

Use feedback to improve your product or service

Negative reviews aren’t necessarily negative in every instance. Handling negative experiences with expediency and transparency will serve to boost your reputation as a business who cares about their customers.

And don’t be afraid to accept a bit of constructive criticism. Learn from your mistakes, so you can provide an improved experience for your customers in the future.


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