4 Reasons to Keep Your Negative Online Reviews


Got a bad online review from a customer? No need to fret.

Sure, comments from unhappy customers can feel like a punch in the gut. And they can also blemish the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build. But negative reviews on websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, and Facebook can actually be good for your business.

Here are 4 reasons to keep (and be appreciative of) your negative online reviews:

Reason 1: Negative reviews help you improve.

The first thing you should do with a bad review on TripAdvisor or Yelp is to read it. Objectively. Without losing your cool. Customer reviews serve as valuable feedback that you can use in order to foster service and operational improvements.

Maybe a bad review will make you realize that your front office staff needs more training. Or that your automotive shop isn’t promoting the free oil change hard enough. Or that the Wi-Fi speed in one of the hotel rooms is really super slow.

Whatever the issue is with the customer experience, you won’t know until you read your negative reviews and truly listen to what your customers are saying online.

Reason 2: Negative reviews give you an opportunity to engage with customers.

Don’t stop at engaging with customers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Join the conversation on online review websites, too.

Respond to their comments. Ask them questions. Reach out to get more detailed feedback. By engaging with your reviewers, you can deliver better experiences, anticipate individual needs, and build a community of customers who feel like their voices are being heard.

Reason 3: Negative reviews make you look authentic.

Always strive for five (stars), but a negative review or low rating can actually lend your brand a dash of authenticity. After all, even the world’s top brands aren’t perfect, and they’ll have issues that at any time can be pointed out in an online review or public customer complaint.

According to a study by PowerReviews entitled “From Reviews to Revenue: How Star Ratings and Review Content Influence Purchase”, product purchases are most influenced by reviews with an average rating of 4.2 to 4.5 stars out of 5 — making this the ideal average star rating for purchase probability.

“Consumers perceive ratings closer to a perfect 5.0 as too good to be true,” read the report, which analyzed data across 40 product and service categories. “As counterintuitive as it may seem, negative reviews have a positive impact because they help establish trust and authenticity. Consumers understand that a product can’t be all things to all people, and they appreciate negative reviews as an important element in their decision-making process.”

Reason 4: Negative reviews can help you turn critics into fans.

A negative review is a hard pill to swallow. But as a business owner, you can’t be selective; you have to be able to tune into what your unhappy customers are saying online. It is only then that you can positively shape the conversation about your business and truly deliver experiences that delight fans and win over even your harshest critics.

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