As much as companies love word of mouth marketing, and they do what they can to fuel it, they also fear it.
The truth is, businesses don’t try to get word of mouth, they want GOOD word of mouth. And that little word makes all the difference.
No one likes negative reviews. Sadly, it’s impossible to avoid them, as there are so many people with completely different needs and opinions in this world, that it is impossible to satisfy them all.
However, although no one really likes them, negative reviews are not always bad for business. In fact, if you learn how to handle them well, they can easily be transformed into an asset that adds value to your brand.
Negative Reviews Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
Getting bad reviews does not mean that your products or services are bad, or that you are any less successful than you were.
Just think about it – if every company that got a negative review closed up shop, people would soon be left without options.
Negative reviews CAN sometimes point to some kind of weakness in your offerings, but most of the time they are a result of the mismatch between your customers’ expectations and what they actually got.
So, if you want to keep negative reviews to their bare minimum, merely focusing on improving your products will not cut it. Instead, you should find a way to manage your customers’ expectations.
That is not to say that you should not make improvements to your business – but those improvements should never be done for the sake of avoiding negative feedback, since even the best product, marketed the wrong way, can get a bad review.
To encapsulate, the three key takeaways are:
- A bad review is not equal to a bad product
- Manage expectations to minimize the chances of getting a negative review
- Improve your products, not out of fear, but out of a desire to add value to your customers’ lives
Five Steps To Handle Negative Reviews
Not only that negative reviews are not ‘all that bad’, but they can make your brand stronger. Below, we explain the five ways negative reviews can help your business, and how to act accordingly.
Don’t Fake It. Own It!
Nowadays, many companies pay to get stellar reviews for their products or services, hoping that they’ll raise the brand’s popularity and drive more sales.
Do yourself a favor and do not get caught into that trap. Customers are much smarter than you think, and they can ‘smell’ a fake review from afar.
We all know that there’s no such thing as perfection, so a brand with a perfect 5.0 score seems anything but genuine.
When you have a couple of negative reviews sprinkled around your list of satisfied customers, you show your audience that all the reviews you get are authentic and your company has nothing to hide and no reason to manipulate the public by filtering out the not so favorable testimonials.
Use Bad Reviews As A Chance to Connect to Your Audience
Bad reviews are the perfect opportunity to connect with your customers, humanize your brand, and offer support.
Many times, people will not judge a company based on the reviews it got, but on how the company handles them.
No matter what kind of review you get, always be respectful and polite. Try to understand the details of the problem and offer your assistance.
Showing that you care about your customers, their opinions and experiences, even in instances you have been provoked by an unfavorable review, will only raise your value in your audience’s eyes.
Let Bad Reviews Help You Manage Expectations
At the very beginning, we defined bad reviews as a result of the difference between the customers’ expectations your product, and what they actually got.
Getting only good reviews would paint an unrealistic picture of your brand.
Even if you offer the best quality products and services on Earth, there will be cases where due to circumstances you cannot control, you will not be able to deliver the ultimate experience.
And that’s completely fine. As long as your customers expect it, that is.
A variety of reviews will show your audience all the possible scenarios they might encounter, so as a result, their expectations are going to be much closer to the reality. This way, you will minimize the chances of getting bad reviews in the future.
Be Happy: Even Bad PR is Good PR!
There’s no such thing as bad PR. It’s the oldest rule in the marketing game.
The only time when you are in for trouble is when people stop talking about your brand. So when a bad review pops up on your radar, you should be chuffed to bits!
Unflattering testimonials ignite curiosity, raise questions, and create a buzz. And creating a buzz is every business’s dream.
Follow Where Negative Reviews Lead You
Companies have paved the road to their success when they have successfully pinpointed their target audience’s needs, desires, and pain points.
To do this, you have to actively practice social listening.
Positive reviews that focus on the things that you do right, will not tell you much about what else you can do to increase your customers’ satisfaction.
Negative reviews, on the other hand, create room for growth as they show the parts of your business that could use some improvement. And, continual improvement and growth are what will ensure your business’s success in the long haul.
The next time you get a negative review, stop yourself from desperately trying to vindicate your company and show that you own it.
Try to understand where your customers are coming from, and tackle the problem as best as you can. Use negative reviews to define pain statements and find opportunities for growth and improvement.
And, while you’re working on improving your business, let the negative talk create a buzz and do the marketing for you.
Author Bio: Danielle Canstello is part of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics. They provide enterprise level analytics and business intelligence software. In her spare time, she writes around the web to spread her knowledge of the marketing, business intelligence and analytics industries.