Every business owner hopes to get a five-star rating from every customer that patronizes their services. This, however, is an impossible feat. Once in a while, we have to face the ugly reality of negative reviews. But our ability to transform such demoralizing moments into a marketing opportunity is what sets effective business owners apart from rest.
For most start-ups, negative reviews can sometimes put people in positions where they question their capabilities. Reviews create a platform for judgement because they stand as a witness statement for or against you in the court of public opinion.
Recovering and recreating your reputation from the ill winds of a negative review can be tough, but that does not mean it’s impossible.
Is Having A Poor Review As Terrible As We Think?
While negative feedback may feel like the end of the road, there are certain things you can do to turn it into an advantage. First, lets learn about the unexpected value of getting poor reviews.
Unexpected Valuable Publicity: SEO Ranking
Reading a negative review is never easy, but the most challenging stage is recovering from that pain. Once you have, it’s easier to see the lessons hidden in the review.
You should realize that ratings and reviews are not always as problematic as they may seem. A 2017 RevenueJump study of over 1.3 million local reviews found that the companies that ranked the highest on Google local search results also had a higher number of negative reviews.
The takeaway is that having a mix of negative reviews can sometimes portray authenticity, at least for the sake of realism. It adds to your popularity and helps you rank higher on search engines like Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo. Some of the most utilized applications on our smartphones have disastrous reviews on Play Store, yet we seem to have found a way to overcome their shortcomings.
The Other Side Of A Negative Review
Before you rule out the potential of a negative review, consider turning it into an opportunity to make an impact as you try to strengthen your relationship with your customers. Here are some other aspects of negative feedback you’ve probably never considered:
1. It Offers You A Valuable Opportunity To Connect
Having negative reviews offers an opportunity to publicly respond to reviewers’ concerns. When a customer expresses that their desires were not met, appreciate the client and let them know the steps you will take to improve your service. This gives you a second chance to prove to your customers that you are genuinely interested in their satisfaction, which further enhances the dynamic value of connection, and improves customers’ sentiments towards your brand. DO NOT BE QUICK TO RESPOND WITH A DEFENSIVE COMMENT!
2. It Dignifies Your Customer’s Sense Of Judgement
A study from North Western University confirms that negative reviews may not be a big turnoff to potential customers. Nearly 82% of survey respondents said they specifically seek out negative reviews before purchasing from a business. This validates the point we made earlier that customers care about both the good and the awful feedback from a business because they prefer to know what has gone wrong in the past so they can know what to expect. A business that confidently lets customers read all its reviews good or bad has more value because lends them more credibility.
Nothing dignifies a potential customer like overall confidence and belief that you completely trust their sense of judgment and will go all the way to offer additional support.
Uncommon Benefits of A Negative Review
- Informs you of problems you may not have known about
- Allows you to improve your brand’s sentiment through your response
- Adds legitimacy to your business
Disadvantages of A Negative Review
- Can chase away potential customers by increasing skepticism and doubts
- Undermines the reputation of your business
- Can reduce your confidence and make you question your strategies
How to Turn A Bad Review Around
Here are some marketing tactics you can use to improve your sales after a bad review:
1. Show your customers you care
Customer service is everything if you plan on making sales. NewVoiceMedia’s 208 “Serial Switchers” report found that businesses lose over $75 billion a year because of poor customer service. Now that figure has increased from 2016, which means customers want more care and attention.
If a customer experiences an issue with a business but is treated with fantastic customer support, they will likely choose to patronize that business again as opposed to starting all over with a company who does not understand how they love to be served.
You are expected to acknowledge and show gratitude for every review you get, both the good and the bad. Apologetically ask the customer to explain the problem they are experiencing and inform them that you will investigate the cause of the problem and how it can be fixed.
If need be, invite them to your local office for a fix as your way of making up for their troubles. When that isn’t feasible, you can offer a coupon for the reviewer’s next purchase.
Responding to an angry reviewer in a humble and apologetic manner may be enough to make up for the mistake. Even if it doesn’t get them to change their review, it goes a long way towards retaining the customer’s patronage and attracting new customers.
2. Use complaints as a content marketing strategy
If you had a recent product launch but the result were less than expected. Did you have some feedback from customers? Are you stuck brainstorming the next batch of content idea for your site? Look through your negative reviews. If you discover a particular trend of complaints, it is likely the next relevant piece of content your website needs.
Let’s say your business sells a skincare product where customers can purchase a facial scrub to soften their skin. Users upload their pictures, and your artificial intelligence system scans their skin tone to suggest the items that will be the best fit. If you begin to get a ton of bad reviews from customers complaining that their skin broke out after using your products, what do you do?
You take this complaint seriously and investigate the issue. In the end, you discover that your AI system is having problems classifying between certain black and brown skin tones. They keep getting mismatched because they aren’t applying the products in the proper sequence.
To fix this problem, you should publish new content using a POC model, showing your users how to use the products in the correct sequence to achieve their desired results.
In the content, provide step-by-step instructions, pictures and illustrations to vividly explain how to use the product across the various application stages in the order that should guarantee their desired outcome.
By adopting this approach, you are guaranteed to attract more attention to your sincere and attentive efforts towards meeting customers’ needs who fall into this category. This is the most positively authentic thing you can do with a negative review and it is rewarding.
3. Optimize business operations
Negative reviews give you an idea of ways you can improve your customer service. You can use the data collated from negative reviews to create a frequently asked questions section on your website. This eliminates any confusion the negative reviewer may have had.
A negative review can also be used to train your staff. You can show your team the areas in which customers are dissatisfied and train your employees to function better in those areas.
The feedback from negative reviews can be used for social media content and digital customer service. Use your social media platforms to share content that will help reviewers who showed their dissatisfaction with a negative review, or share pages on your website with solutions to the problem highlighted in the review.
All Reviews are Critical, But Are They All Equal In Value?
Learn to appreciate all types of reviews. They are essential business tools that you can use to improve your products and services. It is often easier to form relationships with outspoken customers who leave reviews. Encourage your clients to communicate their expectations and leave positive reviews to highlight your strengths. Take advantage of the positive reviews by making sure they are strategically placed where your future customers can see them.
You can do that by including links to other platforms where your products are listed and positively reviewed, like Google My Business, Grammedit, Trustpilot, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and on your social media pages where previous customers have posted positive comments.
As a rule of thumb, most customers often award a higher authenticity value to reviews they find on independent platforms like Grammedit, Yelp, Google, Trustpilot and others. Make it a habit to go all-in and leave positive footprints on as many independent platforms as you can.