Negative reviews are valuable.
Such a bold, yet controversial statement, right?
You might be thinking, “Why in the world would negative reviews be valuable? Shouldn’t my business be striving to gain only five-star reviews?”
Actually, no. Having perfect five-star reviews is not necessary. In fact, people don’t believe businesses that have only positive and five-star reviews. Studies show that customers trust online reviews much more when they include both positive and negative reviews.
Nearly 80% of people research a company before they make a purchase. They read reviews to determine what the product does, what other people have to say about it, and if that is the product they want. Two-thirds of all purchases online are made by what people have read online. Isn’t that crazy?
Many businesses think that the only way to get those conversions is to have only positive reviews listed on their site. But, that’s not necessarily true…
This thought process is the reason why so many small businesses tend to rely on positive reviews to boost their business. Reviews can indeed make or break your brand’s growth. But, it’s not totally dependent on positive reviews. Negative reviews actually help your business in more ways than one.
- Negative reviews show that your business is imperfect
Before you say anything…This is a good thing! It shows your human side! There isn’t a business out there that is perfect in all of its endeavors. Businesses who receive ONLY five-star reviews may seem suspicious. In fact, customers think that five-star reviews are hard to believe. You may have experienced this while researching a product. You find a product you like, just to find only five-star reviews with similar verbiage in each one. It may have looked like the seller appointed their friends to write reviews or maybe wrote one themselves. Nobody trusts a company like that! Negative reviews are a good thing because it shows that your business is real and flawed. Responding to those negative reviews also shows that you’re professional, responsible, and reliable. You also have the chance to “right the wrongs” and show other shoppers that you’re responsive and helpful, regardless of the situation.
2. It shows potential buyers that your review section is honest and reliable
Negative reviews and your response to them display your business’s character. A business whose review section is littered with only good reviews might be guilty of staging, using fake reviews and testimonials, or censoring the bad reviews. People are not looking for only good reviews! They are looking for a business to trust. Customers want to see that your reviews are reliable. They want to see how you respond to them! How are they going to see that if you censor your reviews or hide the downfalls of your business? Customers appreciate and trust a business much more when they can visually see that their reviews are honest and helpful. By keeping those negative reviews, you are helping your business look better online. Leave your reviews where they are and respond to those that express concern or negativity. Customers are also looking to see how you responded to those negative reviews.
3. Negative reviews educate your customers
Negative reviews help enlighten your customers on something they would not have otherwise known about. They show the flaws of the product or service and educate potential buyers about those downfalls before they make a purchase. The flaws mentioned may not have been something you noticed before. Keep in mind, a negative review isn’t specifically something negative about the product. It may be about their customer experience. Regardless, your negative reviews reveal real-life experiences and information that they would not have known about from your product description. This is another way that the bad reviews show that your business is honest.
4. Negative reviews help you find the weakness of your product
Negative reviews are exactly like constructive criticism. It’s a great opportunity for you to look at your product from the eyes of a consumer. A negative review might not be a put-down, as much as it is an opportunity for you to better your product. Keep in mind, that not all negative reviews are “negative”. It depends on the contents of the review. A customer could be reviewing a bad experience, reviewing a product politely, comparing a first model to a second model product, or listing the pros and cons of a single product. Negative reviews come in various forms. Although reading positive reviews might make you feel like you did something right, you need negative reviews to know what you need to fix. They help you learn from your mistakes.
5. It’s an opportunity to engage in conversation with your customers
Twice as many consumers look for negative reviews before positive reviews. Consumers are looking for validation before they make a purchase. Because so many people are already looking for negative posts, it puts you in a great position to engage with new or recurring customers. Negative reviews give you the chance to talk to your customers about their experience with your business and your product. This is not the time for you to hide the review so others cannot see it or respond to the comment with another negative comment. Neither option will solve the problem. This is an opportunity to hear them out, provide a solution, and make things right. This is also a great way to show that you are responsive and invested in your business. So, even if they had a bad experience, they received help and a viable solution.
6. It Boosts Website Conversions
Conversions occur when people spend more time on your website and view more pages. It takes some convincing content and some helpful reviews to get those website surfers turned into conversions. A website conversion is when someone completes an action on your website, such as buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, or sharing your content on social media. Conversions are incredibly important! You need them to make business! Oddly enough, customers who look for negative reviews are the reason for a 67% increase in website conversions. So, negative reviews actually help score your business more conversions. It must be something about the authenticity of your business… But, we’re just thinking out loud!
When you see that your business has gotten a bad review, don’t panic! It’s all about how you respond. First, you need to acknowledge their concerns and sympathize with them. Next, explain what customers usually experience and apologize that they didn’t receive that same treatment. You should then provide your contact information and offer them the opportunity to discuss the problem further. Finally, make sure your response is short and sweet. You don’t want to say something that might trigger the customer to be even more upset. A good rule of thumb is to keep your response to three sentences. As difficult as it may be to hold back those fire fingers, just stop and give yourself some time to respond. Combating negativity with more negativity or an attempt to prove the customer wrong will not only show that you’re unprofessional, but you’ll lose a lot of business. What you post online is there forever!
Remember, negative reviews aren’t always a bad thing and they don’t always mean the same thing. Negative reviews can come in the form of a good negative review and a bad negative review. Just because somebody writes a negative review, doesn’t mean it’s true. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and sharing their own experience. People don’t always agree with somebody else’s reviews either. So, just because a negative review is posted, doesn’t mean others are going to agree with it.
Reviews are absolutely essential for your business because they shape how customers view your business. It helps consumers create an opinion about your brand and your business. As previously mentioned, nearly 80% of consumers research a company before they make a purchase. Before you go deleting your negative reviews, think about all the ways they will help you and your business grow!