Businesses tend to fear bad reviews, thus delete or hide them away. In contrary, negative reviews can even have positive impacts on their businesses if they seize the opportunity to leverage them. In this article, we'll go in-depth about why you need negative reviews, and how to respond to negative reviews in ways that help your business grow.
Bad reviews aren’t bad at all…
Here are 3 reasons why:
Reason #1: Bad reviews show that your brand isn’t fake
There is no size that fits all. Every product and service in this world cannot live up to everyone’s expectations. 100% perfect reviews just don’t exist. Period.
Most businesses should strive to earn as many great reviews as possible to create social proof, but they shouldn’t put all focus on avoiding negative reviews. Negative reviews are part of the real picture: no matter how many people love your product, there is always someone who hates it because it doesn’t work the way they want.
If a product has all 5-star compliments, customers might highly likely think that the business owner either removes negative feedback or creates the good ones themselves. In whatever way, the business seems not authentic and upright to customers. According to a report by Vendasta, “95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores.”
Do you want people to see your brand that way? Believe it or not, having negative reviews proves that your brand is not fake and that you are transparent and have nothing to hide.
Reason #2: Negative reviews give you a chance to show the human side of your business
2.1 Reviewer is unreasonable and just wants to vent his anger
This is what you are most afraid about. But guess what - people aren't stupid and can also see that the reviewer is trying to just pour out their anger. Reply in a calm and polite way, show your side of the story. This shows that your are not shady or neglectful to feedback, and have done everything you could to fix the problem. This will show the future customers what you do if things go bad and will boost their trust in you.
2.2 You messed up - just say it!
Bad times happen to everyone, and to businesses too. Your business is run by people who can make mistakes from time to time. Unsatisfied customers would resent and fight excuses, but find empathy for sincere apologies and reasonable explanations.
A package not delivered on time might be because your newly hired fulfilment staff had messed up her new job. Support calls not picked up might be because your team was gathering for a birthday celebration. If you do have a story behind the bad experiences caused to your customers, don’t be afraid to say it out loud. It is the human side of your business that you should not cover. Negative reviews show that real people are working behind your business.
Reason #3: Bad reviews help customers make better buying decisions
One of the biggest pain points of online shopping is that shipped products don’t meet people’s expectations. Negative reviews don’t necessarily mean that the products are bad. They provide details about how the products may perform at its worst or whom the products don’t work for.
In that way, negative reviews alongside positive ones help customers make informed purchase decisions and adjust their expectations by knowing what can go wrong in the worst scenarios.
How to effectively deal with negative reviews
Many businesses are so afraid of confronting negative reviews that they choose to keep silent and ignore them. This course of actions kills customer trust that businesses work so hard to earn.
Another way to turn the situation around is to take your responsibility, respond directly and seek solutions.
Below are 3 definitive rules that help you manage negative reviews in ways that benefit your business:
Rule #1: Stay respectful and thank bad review writers for giving you feedback
You should be thankful to customers who write you negative feedback as you are to those who give you compliments because their insights show you what is going wrong with your business and where you can improve. Most of the time, these are problems you cannot see through by yourself.
Don’t treat bad review writers as evils who are trying to sabotage your business. Instead, respect them as your business savers.
Rule #2: Investigate the root causes of problems and genuinely tell your story
Before you respond to bad feedback, always get to the bottom of the issues by conducting internal investigations to make sure that you fully understand what happened and that your following responses are backed up by real facts.
While you can leave 5-star reviews unanswered, don’t forget to reply to all negative reviews with an understanding and professional manner. Your comments assure unsatisfied customers that their feedbacks are noticed and will be handled properly.
If you’re selling on Shopify, Opinew system is highly recommended for resolving negative reviews for your products. The app allows you to respond to every review and highlights resolved reviews with a green message.
Rule #3: Offer solutions, not excuses and defenses
If you decide to confront negative reviews instead of getting away from them, come up with viable solutions, not excuses and defenses. Sometimes, you will find that the reviews are exaggerating and unfair to you, but your defensive manners would only worsen the situation.
How Simba Sleep handles their negative reviews is a great example that brands should follow.
The team publishes their responses to bad reviews on the website, so they are transparent to all potential customers about how they handle cases. In the above example, they apologized first and foremost, then briefly explained the procedure, and offered the collection of the faulty product as well as a full refund as the immediate solution.
Even in cases that what happened cannot be reversed or fixed, what unhappy customers want is simply a genuine apology:
Bad reviews help businesses win more loyal customers
There is a high chance that happy customers will stay with your business for years. How about unhappy ones?
How you deal with unhappy customers’ issues tells a lot about your business. If you take them seriously and are determined to solve them to the bottom, you show customers that you treat them with respect and care, and you truly want to improve your business.
Once unhappy customers are satisfied, they will trust that their purchases are safe with you and be more willing to become loyal advocates.
Negative reviews, just like positive ones, open opportunities for brands to grow and win customers. Treat each one with all your attention and you would be grateful for that.