Every business knows that online reputation is critical. We all want glowing five-star reviews from every single customer, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the way it goes. No matter your industry, product range or business size, you will get the occasional negative review. These negative reviews can leave you feeling as though you are losing out on potential business and turning new customers away.
While there are a few ways you can fix a bad online reputation, sometimes it is better to embrace and action negative feedback. Critical reviews can actually be helpful to your business in ways you might never have realised. We know that positive reviews have the power to drive sales and secure new customers, but did you know negative reviews could be even more powerful?
Why are negative reviews important?
Consumers rely on so many factors to make their final buying decisions. Online reviews are a vital part of this and can sway customers to either purchase from you or move on to your competitors. A massive 97% of customers will read online reviews about a product before deciding whether to invest. But it isn’t just positive feedback that they want to see. 85% of consumers will seek out negative reviews so that they can make a fully informed decision.
These negative reviews can provide authenticity and trustworthiness because having all excellent reviews can come across as fake. Having negative reviews about your business or products isn’t a concern, as long as you handle them correctly.
What to do about negative reviews?
Receiving negative reviews about your products, services or business in general can be disheartening. However, if you treat negative reviews the right way, they can actually be very beneficial to your bottom line. The way a company handles negative feedback can reveal a lot about the type of organisation they are. Your first reaction might be to ignore negative feedback and hope no one notices it, but what you should be doing is embracing them with open arms.
It is essential that you have a strategy in place for replying to negative feedback online, and this strategy will vary depending on how you want to portray your business. Whatever strategy you are going for, you need to make sure you are responding quickly because over 50% of consumers expect to receive a response within seven days. Some companies opt for using negative reviews to make a statement on social media by replying with witty and entertaining replies. Others prefer to take a more cautious approach by addressing customer service issues and investigating complaints thoroughly. Any response strategy is acceptable, as long as you act fast and portray your company in a positive light.
Are all negative reviews valuable?
The truth is, not all negative reviews are created equal. Some customers might just leave a star-rating with no explanation, which is challenging to respond to. Others might be purposefully leaving poor feedback in a bid to receive a refund or discount. The most valuable negative reviews are the ones that provide constructive criticism. These can give you actionable, helpful feedback on your products and services from the people that matter most to your business.
Ultimately, positive reviews are powerful for helping customers choose your products over competitors, but negative reviews are just as important. They demonstrate that your business is genuine, trustworthy and authentic. Poor feedback also gives you the chance to respond and show your customers how you handle problems. Quickly and appropriately replying to negative reviews can demonstrate that you value customer opinions and are genuinely trying to improve your services. When you begin to see every negative review as an opportunity for improvement, your online reputation will flourish for the better.