Negative Online Reviews Are Not Always Bad. Here’s Why.

Dóra Rapcsák
September 14, 2018
September 14, 2018
7 min read
#Customer Experience

What’s the first thing you do before you make an online purchase?  You probably check the company’s online reviews.

It’s no coincidence that online reviews have become essential over the last few years: in our ever-more connected world, it now only takes a minute to check a company’s reviews before you actually purchase their products or services. And you can be sure that any customers checking out your products or services will know this very well.

Positive reviews can have a great impact on your business’ reputation and help you build trust with your potential customers.

On the other hand, it’s inevitable that even the best-performing businesses will receive a handful of negative online reviews.

Although most companies worry about negative reviews, the truth is that negative comments are not the end of the world. In fact, they can be good for your business. Read on and find out why!

Negative reviews give you valuable business insights

Be it online customer reviews or feedback to your call center agents, negative reviews contain some of the most valuable information your business can later utilize.

Sure, no one likes to see negative comments about their products or services. However, bear in mind that it’s simply impossible to please everyone.

Negative online reviews help you understand what you’re doing wrong and how you can improve your services. And what better way to improve your customer satisfaction than by learning from your mistakes.

Since it is customers who purchase your products, their negative experiences will help you see things from their point of view, which is invaluable in the long-term for any business.

So, instead of thinking about throwing in the towel, try to consider your negative reviews as valuable feedback, and use them to improve the aspects of your products or services your customers are criticizing.

Turn negative reviews into success stories

Dealing with your negative reviews proactively is a great opportunity to show your customers that you actually care for them.

In most cases, you can even turn a negative experience into a success story by responding to the negative comments with a solution.

As we all know, online reviews are in the public domain, and customers definitely pay attention to how businesses react to issues and problems.

Just by making a public response in itself, you are showing your customers that you care about their issues. In fact, by addressing negative reviews and dealing with them in a positive way, you can even win your customers back and further build your online reputation.

(Check out our previous article on how humor can help you turn a customer complaint into a success story on social media.)

So, whenever you feel the urge to delete a comment, remember that a positive attitude towards negative reviews will not only help you win back unhappy customers but also attract new ones.

Never hide negative online reviews!

Many businesses either delete their negative reviews or respond to them defensively. Needless to say, both options are a huge mistake!  

One of the ultimate rules when dealing with negative online reviews is that once you receive them, you should never hide them.

First of all, it is not trustworthy to just keep your positive reviews and get rid of the negative ones. There’s no doubt that you’ll lose your customers’ trust if they find out.

Secondly, you can be sure that ignoring a complaining customer will do more harm than good. You may not think so, but many times customers start by checking negative online reviews. Customers these days want to have the whole story before proceeding with an online purchase, meaning that they also want to know what they can expect when things go wrong.

So, displaying your negative reviews to your customers will help you maintain transparency by showing that you have nothing to hide.

Furthermore, customers often like to compare the advantages and disadvantages of products or services before they purchase them. By letting them scroll down among a few negative reviews, you’ll help them make a fully-informed decision. However, if they cannot find any negative comments on your site, chances are they’ll navigate away.

Too good to be true

Too many positive reviews may seem fake to your customers, so be careful.  

Let’s face it, however well-organized your business may be, you’ll make mistakes every now and then. And when all the online reviews you have are positive, potential customers may get suspicious and think that you’re hiding something.

In short, only having positive reviews is too good to be true.

Furthermore, bear in mind that customers do not always agree on what makes a negative aspect of a product or service, so a nightmare experience for one customer may be a great experience for another. That’s exactly why it’s suspicious to have hundreds of good reviews and not one negative.

Last but not least, it’s the ratio of positive to negative reviews that matters. Having a handful of negative reviews probably won’t scare away your potential customers. However, if your business does not have any reviews mentioning your products’ flaws or at least one incident regarding your service, your potential customers will not only get suspicious but also lose their trust in your positive comments.

So, do you still think negative customer reviews are that bad? On the contrary, negative reviews can actually be good for your business because they allow you to improve your products or services, and also demonstrate to your customers that all of your reviews are 100% authentic.

Dóra Rapcsák
Dóra Rapcsák is Content Strategist and Copywriter at VCC Live®. As a Content Marketer and CX enthusiast, her aim is to discover and tell you about tomorrow’s ideas on Digital Marketing and Customer Experience.
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