When you get a negative review from a customer, it can often be a cringe-worthy experience. Your first instinct may be to refute and deny what the customer is saying. You may feel hurt. You might feel angry or offended. It’s normal to be upset, but don’t get carried away.
Take a deep breath and let all of those feelings go. Negative reviews and unhappy customers are not entirely a bad thing. They can be a great thing! They present you with endless opportunities.
Here are five reasons why you should actually embrace those negative reviews you’ve been so stressed out about.
1. Negative reviews lend credibility to the positive ones.
Think about when you’re researching a product that you want to purchase for yourself. You read reviews in search of the good, the bad, and the ugly. When no one says anything negative about a brand or a product and only positive reviews exist, customers can feel it’s too good to be true.
They may even assume your brand has paid for a positive reviews to be written and that the reviews aren’t real. Having a few customers who aren’t satisfied shows that you’re a real business, who has some flaws. Remember, you can’t please all of the people all the time, and that’s okay.
There are also customers who will say only positive things and then give your brand four out of five stars. This is frustrating, as they didn’t give any feedback on how you can improve, but again, it does help prevent the idea that you have a bunch of fake five-star reviews.
2. You have a chance to make a problem right with that customer.
Sometimes these negative reviews give you a tremendous opportunity. You have a chance to make things right for a customer and to respond to their review. It’s possible, the customer will even come back and revise their review, rating you even higher than they had before. This is the ideal scenario when negative reviews are involved.
Perhaps a customer bought a product from you and it never arrived. Or maybe the product broke, but is still covered under your warranty and the customer just doesn’t know what to do about it. Maybe a service representative was rude to them. These are all things that you can fix and hopefully allow you to redeem yourself with that customer.
If you do redeem yourself and the customer is pleased, it’s worth it to ask the customer to update their review. Many customers will come back and say how well you handled their issue and that they look forward to making a transaction with you in the future. You may have turned their negative review into a wholehearted endorsement of your brand. That’s not something you can get through traditional advertising. So look at these negative reviews as an opportunity to go the extra mile and to foster deeper brand loyalty.
3. Other potential customers see how well you handle these situations.
The other great thing about responding to negative reviews is that, if handled well, they show other customers how good you are at solving problems. Customers like to know that when they make a purchase, your company can help them if anything turns out less than satisfactory.
Say you’re a car dealership and someone has paid your service department to fix their air conditioner twice but it keeps going out. Now they’ve written a review describing how terrible and useless you are. Next, you get the customer to come back in, you get their car to your best mechanic on a Saturday and he fixes the problem and doesn’t charge them for this third visit. Next thing you know the customer is updating their review to reflect how well you treated them. People now see that you’re a business that goes above and beyond to keep their customers happy.
Another situation could be that customer who is just angry and doesn’t want to be helped and can’t be pleased. But you respond to the review and you make an effort to make them happy. Other people read the review and your response and they’re likely to side with you. Just having made the effort to offer to make things right for someone builds a lot of trust with those who see it.
4. It’s basically free market research.
Unlike a focus group, these people are giving useful feedback without you spending money on an expensive market research company. These reviewers may be answering questions you didn’t even know to ask. They aren’t biased by you paying them to be part of a focus group either. As an added bonus they are people who are invested in your product or service. They spent their own money on your product and they want to see it be a success because they themselves want to have a good experience.
There are a lot of reviewers out there who like something but will give it a four-star review and then tell you what’s good about it AND what needs to be improved. These customers are getting to the heart of what needs to be improved for you to take your business to the next level. So be sure to be grateful for their feedback and to take it to heart.
So the next time you read a negative review of your brand, don’t get upset. Get excited! You have a new opportunity to get the feedback you need be a better company, to make customers happy, to show other people you are a great brand. Embrace those negative reviews and take your business to new heights.