Did you know that 88 percent of consumers consider online reviews to be just as trustworthy as personal recommendations? Which means that businesses should try to get only positive reviews to win over their target customers, right? Not necessarily.
Negative reviews can be just as useful as positive ones to sway potential customers. If you find this hard to believe, read on to learn five ways bad reviews can be good for your business:
1. Negative Reviews Highlight Positive Reviews
One of the most significant impacts of negative reviews is that they make your positive reviews look better. Potential customers may compare all the positives and negatives of the product before making a purchase.
When you display the bad reviews, there’s a much better chance people will believe the positive reviews. Which means that all the good parts highlighted in the positive reviews will have an impact on their decisions.
They can then do a side-by-side comparison of the positive and negative reviews. Some negative reviews may even list all the pros and cons of the product, which can prove to be quite useful for customers looking for unbiased reviews.
2. Bad Reviews Lead to Informed Purchase Decisions
Before making a purchase decision, people often compare the advantages and disadvantages of buying the product. This means that it’s your duty to make sure they can see some of the complaints from other customers. That will help them make an informed decision, which can result in fewer complaints and requests for refunds.
In some cases, negative reviews may not be about the product itself, but something related to the customer’s purchase experience. Or perhaps the product didn’t meet their expectations in some way.
Let’s say a potential customer reads a bad review about how another customer found the product to be smaller than they expected. The potential buyer will know what to expect if they decide to buy. Negative reviews help set realistic expectations, which positive reviews may be unable to do.
3. Negative Reviews Help Build Trust
Some businesses may immediately try to hide any negative feedback that comes their way. They may only publish the good reviews. But when all the reviews you get are positive, potential customers may think you’re hiding something.
Almost every business, and every product has at least a few flaws. A few bad reviews won’t necessarily prevent people from buying your product. But if there are no reviews that mention your product’s flaws, consumers may become suspicious. They may even lose trust in the positive reviews that you do choose to display.
Displaying all your reviews – good or bad – will help you maintain transparency. It shows that you have nothing to hide, and you aren’t trying to deceive anyone.
4. Bad Reviews are Opportunities to Engage Customers
When you receive a bad review, what do you do? Some business owners may censor the review immediately. Others may respond to it with their own negative comments.
Neither of these options will help your business win the trust of potential customers. In many cases, you can turn a negative review into something positive by responding with a solution.
Let’s say a customer had a tough time getting a replacement for an item that arrived damaged. They leave a review about their bad experience. You can respond with an apology and a solution to the issue, or even offer them a gift card.
This is an excellent way to show how responsive you are to customer complaints. It will give potential customers the comfort of knowing that you will help them, even if they have a bad experience. You may even be able to turn an unhappy customer into a loyal advocate.
5. Negative Reviews Help You Learn from Your Mistakes
Bad reviews can help you understand what you’re doing wrong, and where you can make improvements. They help you see things from your customer’s point of view, which is important for the growth of your business.
Perhaps some steps in your checkout process seem unnecessary, or frustrating to one of your customers. You can use their feedback to reexamine your checkout process to see if there’s any ways you can improve it.
Negative reviews can help you learn from your mistakes. They can give you the insights you need to make improvements that will satisfy more customers.
Now you know that negative reviews aren’t necessarily bad. When you know how to use them effectively, they can impact your business in positive ways.
How have you responded to bad reviews in the past, and what were the results? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Originally published on Inc.