Negative online reviews are commonly looked at as the bane of the small business’s existence. In reality, bad reviews actually have the potential to help — possibly more than they hurt. They offer real, tangible advantages, as long as you know how to leverage the hidden positives inside the negatives.
Below are the top five reasons your business needs negative online reviews.
1. Give Me the Bad News First
When customers are scanning a company’s online reviews, they’re definitely checking out the top 5-star ratings, but believe it or not, it’s more likely that they’re looking for the negative. They already know nobody is perfect, and they’re looking for what your weakness is, and if it’s a deal-breaker!
If there are no bad reviews in your profiles, this isn’t good news — it’s suspicious. Consumers will immediately start to think about the authenticity of all the good reviews, and whether they can trust your online image.
2. It Adds to Authenticity, Increasing Trust
On the flip side, when there are a couple of bad reviews sprinkled among the good, it can build trust with your audience. Not that you should go looking for bad reviews, but don’t panic when you get one. Use it as motivation to keep collecting good reviews, and remember — customers want to know both the good and the bad.
What’s most important is to encourage all reviewers to be honest. You might have one loyal customer who loves everything you do, but isn’t so happy that you’re closed on Sundays. Encourage them to share what they wish you’d change along with a positive message. This makes the good review that much more authentic.
3. It’s Hard to Be Your Own Worst Critic
You might think you know everything there is to know about where your business needs to improve, but it’s not so easy to be your own worst critic.
You can take bad feedback and dismiss it, or you can learn from it. Examine the comments and see if there is any truth to them. What could you change or improve on? Let your bad reviewers be your business coach and try to improve.
4. Contrast = Motivation
If there’s a nasty review posted about your wonderful business, sometimes it can create a contrast effect. Your past happy customers see the terrible review and they’re immediately flabbergasted. How could such an awesome business have such a bad review? It’s impossible!
You might think your business will tank from one bad review, but don’t fret — it might be the motivation your fans need to step in and help out by adding positive reviews of their own.
5. You Get a Chance to Be the Hero
Consumers like it when you respond to negative comments with care. It can be a welcome surprise to the consumer when the bad feedback is met with patience and a desire for improvement on the part of the business, even if it seems like the reviewer is being irrational. When you respond with deference to customers who have had a bad experience, you’re showing a commitment to integrity that builds a positive image online.
Also, responding to negative online reviews gives you a chance to show the original negative reviewer that you aren’t giving up! You have the opportunity to salvage a customer relationship.
Bad Reviews — Good for Business?
While negative online reviews can offer insights for the business owner, this is only the case if your past customers are actually leaving reviews. If your Google My Business page is empty, you aren’t benefiting from positive or negative reviews, which is a major missed opportunity.
Wouldn’t you like your customers to leave reviews and to be notified when there’s a bad review you need to look at? Not only does Accrue Reviews help with volume, we help support quality as well. We can keep bad feedback private until you’ve had a chance to address the issue with your customer offline. It’s a great way to get some of the benefits of negative online reviews without the bad publicity. Get in touch today to learn more!