Why do people post negative reviews? According to a research conducted TNS NIPO, 30% of people post online reviews or social media comments about brands to vent negative feelings, while 23% post purely for vengeance. Yeah, we know, it's a strong word.

In total, a majority 71% only post complaints online after traditional customer service has failed them. These customers are turning to social media and third-party review websites in hopes of getting the attention of the company, yet the same report showed that only 38% of these customers receive a response.

Nobody’s customer experience can be perfect all the time.

Broken or non-working products occasionally leave the warehouse, shipping gets delayed, and employees sometimes take their bad moods out on customers.

Unfortunately, with more choices available to them than ever before, consumers are less inclined to forgive and forget as they are to simply move on. 86% of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience, up from 59% four years ago. (Via Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Impact Report).

From disappointed to angry.

Is dissatisfaction really enough to turn someone into a "hater"? In their study of more than 2,000 consumers who complained to the Canadian Transportation Agency after a bad airline experience, researchers Yany Grégoire and Robert J. Fisher found that although dissatisfaction was related to demands for reparation (in other words, the more unhappy a customer is with their experience, the more likely they are to demand a refund, upgrade or discount on future services), dissatisfaction alone isn’t enough to drive consumers to seek retaliation.

So what drives consumers to spread negativity and hatred online about brands? Love.

Love makes us do crazy things.

If you’re good at what you do, and we hope you are, some of your consumers love your brand. Like, really love your brand. We’re talking writing your name with little hearts around it and passing you notes in study hall love. Recent studies have even shown that for some consumers, attachment to their favorite brands is so strong they experience separation anxiety when those brands are no longer available. Although this sounds like a marketing manager’s dream come true, this borderline unhealthy attachment to your brand can take a dark turn at the smallest betrayal.

According to the study, some people identify so strongly with brands that they become relevant to their identity. When people feel betrayed by those brands, they feel embarrassed and insecure.

When it comes to customer:brand relationships, betrayal can mean the customer feels they have been lied to, taken advantage of, exploited, cheated, or had a perceived promise broken.

Vengeance- or justice-seeking, in this case via posting defamatory (true or not) content online, is an attempt to regain a sense of security.

Unhappy customers share their experience with more people than happy customers because people remember negative events more clearly than positive ones.

What do your haters want?

  • They want to feel heard
  • They want to take back control of the situation
  • They want to exact justice against a brand by which they feel personally wronged

How much damage can one hater do?

Today, more than 90% of consumers consult online reviews before making a purchase. What those consumers find when they search for your brand or products plays a big role in determining if they make a purchase from you--or your competitor.

Change how you think about negative reviews.

Jay Baer was right, we need to hug our haters. Don't get defensive, or try to hide negative feedback. Rather, try to think of negative feedback as a gift. We know, easier said than done, but each comment you receive is giving you something invaluable -- insight into what went wrong, and a chance to fix it. Customers who leave negative feedback are giving you a chance to fix the situation -- and publicly to boot. In the end customers like this serve to do a lot to help your brands than those who simply silently fade away after a dissatisfying experience without you ever knowing anything was wrong.

First things first, whenever you have the ability to respond to negative feedback -- respond! Find a way to thank the reviewer for their input and then analyze their comment, your product, and your customer service.

Look at all the feedback you've received as a whole. Are there recurring themes about a faulty product? You can catch it and fix it before it makes the news.

Cooling off: How to respond to angry customers.

How do you respond to a positively irate customer?

1. Respond quickly and with empathy.

2. Whenever possible, respond publicly and express your dedication to making the situation right.

3. Then respond privately to start the process of fixing the problem. (Yes, you have to actually fix the problem)

4. Never, ever point out that someone is being irrational or that they are wrong (even if that are).

People trust brands who apologize for their mistakes. It humanizes them and reflects the integrity of the company.

Turn your haters into ambassadors.

It's important to realize that not all unhappy customers become haters, just the one's that have really been hurt and/or had a significant attachment to your product or brand. These are passionate people. Consequently, these are also people ripe for becoming brand ambassadors. Show a dedication to making a situation right (and actually deliver), and watch these customers sing your praises the same way they spread their dissatisfaction.

When a grand shows respect and genuine concern for its customers and provides personal and extraordinary service, customer perceptions change, and your brand will see the results via: better online reputation, better ROI of your customer service tools and team, increased sales and free word-of-mouth advertising.