Why negative reviews are actually important for your business

All business owners hate negative reviews. They cringe at the very sight of 1-2 star reviews shown on their website, SM, or any popular review site, where everyone can see it.

They work so hard to make things right and give their customers what they need, and they get a negative review?

The thing is, every business will sooner or later run into an unhappy customer. Either because you made a mistake, your staff had a worse day, or maybe a customer wanted to vent out by posting a negative review.

Having an upset or angry customer is unavoidable. And an angry customer’s rant or a one-star review of your newest product will make you angry and upset too.

It might be even more worrying for you if you start thinking about the consequences of negative reviews. People are not always eager to post positive reviews, but they are sure to comment if they are unhappy with your business and will tell their friends and relatives about their poor experience.

On average, a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience.

What is more is that negative reviews tend to spread like wildfire, especially on social media. One wrong move (or lack of a move) and the negative comment becomes viral.

So is your business doomed to failure if you find a negative review about your company?

Not necessarily – negative reviews can be a tremendous help for you and your business!

See 5 ways in which a negative review can boost your business!  

Negative reviews improve conversion rates

Believe it or not, businesses with negative reviews visible actually receive much more leads than companies with nearly all 5-star reviews.

Sounds absurd?

No, it’s realistic.

If you would hear about a product that has absolutely no faults, wouldn’t you get suspicious?

If all a website visitor sees about your company are glowing reviews, and overjoyed customers, they can actually be turned off.

It’s just not possible for a real company to have only happy clients and only positive reviews. If you have only 5-stars opinions, your users can be suspicious. Does your company post fake positive reviews? Or maybe deletes the negative ones?

In fact, 40% of B2B buyers say negative reviews help build credibility for a product.

Negative comments make customers trust you more

“Reading bad reviews can make a consumer trust a company more? That’s nonsense!”. Are you sure of that? In the XXI century, so-called “social proof” lost a bit of its impact because of tons of fakes. You can buy Facebook likes, Twitter followers or a pack of great reviews everywhere.

There are dozens of companies that are specialized in delivering five stars reviews for any company or testimonials from “satisfied customers”, ready to be put on the landing page.  

Customers know it too.

They know that all businesses (even or maybe especially the best ones) have plenty of unhappy customers. It’s just not possible to not make a single mistake while taking care of your business.

95% of consumers get suspicious of fake reviews if there are no bad scores. So when they see there are negative reviews along with the good ones, your business is seen a legitimate and your visitors are reassured that the rest of your reviews is written by real people too.

They can highlight brilliant customer service

Consumers trust and value brands that have excellent customer service. But how can you show you strive to provide the best customer support possible?

For example, by responding quickly and proactively to customers’ complaints.

If the company responds to a critical comment by apologizing and giving contact to the sales representative or support center, customers gain confidence that the company will also help them with their issues.

Additionally, customers who wrote a negative review because of their bad experience with you can also give you one of the best reviews you can get if you fix their problem promptly.

So getting a negative review from a customer is a fantastic opportunity to show your brilliant customer service and turn those unhappy customers into loyal ones.  

They give you fantastic insight into customers needs and expectations

Corporations spend time, money and effort on getting their customers to take a survey or fill a feedback form while they miss on the goldmine of information that is right under their noses.

Negative reviews are an incredible source of valuable information that can help a business grow – it’s a customer’s way of giving you a “second chance”.

By posting a critical review (of course, as long as this is constructive criticism) customer tells you what he needs, what he expects and what you should improve.

What is more, a business can quickly see how many customers have the same problem or the same idea but didn’t bother to write a review themselves – if the review has a lot of “likes” and comments under it, it means many clients feel in the same way as the author.

Can’t I just delete the negative comments or ignore them?

Well, you can, but it’s definitely not going to end well.

If your newest software update turned up to mess up the entire system, if you had an unexpected server downtime or if you tried to do something behind your customers back sneakily it’s much better to admit the problem and work with your customers to solve it rather than ignoring the issue or outright deleting all negative comments.  

By posting a comment or a review, a customer is reaching out to you and wants you to hear him out.

Because the companies spend so much time assuring customers that they are here for them, customers expect the companies will be there too when they need it.

42% of customers that ask a question or post a comment on social media expect an answer in 60 minutes – but many, many get ignored.

Ignoring customers questions and complains show you as an indifferent brand that is only interested in the customers’ money. If you cared about them and not just their wallets, you would find the time to reply.

It’s even worse with deleting negative comments and reviews.

As many companies that did try to sweep all the negativity under the carpet can attest, it doesn’t resolve the problem. No, it makes the issue several times worse. The ignored customers become even angrier and complain, even more. The customers who didn’t have a problem with your company earlier also start to demand you take actions, flood your mail and social media account with negative posts and the whole situation quickly goes viral.  

Instead of just a few annoyed customers, you have now to deal with a majority of your customers being dissatisfied and with losing a good number of potential customers that got put off by your behaviour.

Do you still think it’s worth it?

So what can I do now?

Decide do you need to take action

When you see a negative comment or review, first take a moment to check the validity of the complaint.

There’s plenty of people who post false negative reviews in hopes of getting a free product or a discount for removing it, people who never even used your product but want to complain anyway or people who merely enjoy starting chaos and making others upset.

Or people who were paid to post a negative review. Not every negative review or comment is worth your time.

If you get a negative review from an anonymous user or from someone who just made the account, chances are it’s a troll. When the user writes in ALL CAPS or name calls you, chances are it’s a troll. Whenever no one from your company recognizes the situation, chances are it’s a troll.

Answering troll comments and reviews is tricky because you can easily get pulled into a shouting match and write one post too many. And that’s precisely what the trolls want.

Even if you checked the review and are suspecting the reviewer is not a genuine customer, you still have to prepare an answer.

The best way to answer a possibly ”fake” complaint is to address the complainer “issue”, apologise for it and then offer your help.

This is not only an answer for the complainer but also to show your existing and future customers how do you deal with such cases.

Respond on time

If the complaint is genuine, you have to answer to them and as soon as possible. Not later than the next day!

Customers are much more impatient now than they were a few years ago because they know they don’t have to wait for an answer. There are so many other companies fighting for their attention, the customer can change your brand for another one.

So don’t make them wait! Answering promptly to a complaint shows your customer that you care about him and are willing to work together to solve the issue.

Take the Issue Offline

Trying to solve the customers’ complaint right under the review, by posting a public comment might quickly turn against you.

It’s a much better idea to ask the customer for contact info and reply by using email or phone. This will give you a chance to solve the matter in a professional, civil way, far away from the public.

Don’t forget about being polite

All answers should be classy, professional and polite. Even if you feel an urge to respond differently after reading a particularly nasty review or comment.

Getting defensive, getting into an argument or trying to prove the customer is wrong will only escalate the situation (especially on social media). Instead, empathise with the customer and apologise for the situation.

Listen carefully

How else will you learn what the actual reason your customer is upset is? When someone is complaining about posting a negative review or commenting on social media, you need to take to listen to the customer to know what went wrong. If you fix the problem quickly, you win the customer back!

Apologize for any inconvenience

Your first action towards an angry customer should be to apologize. There’s a chance it will put the customer in a better mood and make solving the issue faster.

No matter what caused your customer to be angry or upset at you (the bought product is not working, the shipping got delayed, or there is a problem with the customers license),  tell your customer you’re sorry for the inconvenience, and you will fix it as soon as possible.

It’s also a good idea to offer a small gift to the customer, though here you have to be careful. Some customers deliberately write negative reviews in hopes of getting a  service discount or the newest product for free.

Follow up!

The issue that was the reason for the negative review was fixed? Great! The last thing you need to do is to send a follow-up email to the customer. Ask the customer if they are satisfied and is there anything more you can help them with.

This shows your customer that you have not forgotten about them and that you genuinely want to deliver excellent customer service. If everything is alright, ask the customer for removing or changing their initial review.

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