Why Getting Negative Reviews Isn’t A Negative Thing?

Have you ever had a negative review come through for your business? Justified or not, seeing that single yellow star pop up under your business name will cause anyone to feel clammy and uncomfortable.

It’s a fact of life—Nobody likes to get criticism! Chances are if you’re a business owner, you’ve spent at least some time googling how to remove negative reviews from your business listing.

Here at Boost Reviews, we believe that negative reviews aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, getting a dozen negative reviews in a row should set off alarm bells but getting one negative review doesn’t need to send you straight into panic mode.

Here’s a couple of reasons why negative reviews aren’t a bad thing, and a few ways on how to deal with them when they do pop up! 

1) Legitimacy

If a customer is visiting your website or hearing about your business for the first time, one of the first things they will ask is whether you’re a legitimate business or not.

In an age where scams are common and customers are constantly looking for proof of legitimacy in small businesses, one of the best ways to prove yourself is with negative reviews.

How do your negative reviews prove your legitimacy, you may ask?

To put it simply, it shows that you’re not perfect! Nobody’s perfect 100% of the time.

Studies have shown that up to 93 per cent of customers look at reviews prior to buying from a business (1), and while having a plethora of positive reviews will certainly help your business, studies have also shown that 85 per cent of customers look for negative reviews as well (2).

Keeping negative reviews on your platforms show that customers have bought from your business and while it may not be pleasant to receive the feedback, leaving it for customers to see shows that an unbiased third party has bought from your business and used your products or services.

Responding to any negative reviews in a genuine, constructive way will further prove that you’re willing to take feedback on board and do what you can to rectify their problem. This shows potential customers there really is someone behind the Facebook account.

2) Explain Your Side

We’ve all heard the saying that the customer is always right. When it comes to negative reviews, sometimes they’re not!

When negative reviews come in, they will likely be either a genuine review from an unhappy customer or a troll review from someone who is either a competitor, disgruntled ex-employee or simply trying to make things difficult.

This gives you two options: Either you can choose to ignore the reviews (which we don’t recommend), or you can take the opportunity to explain your side of things.

If the review is a genuine review from an unhappy customer, you’ll have an opportunity to respond with grace and professionalism. Apologise for what happened, take ownership of the situation and offer either a solution or a way to contact you so that the customer can resolve the situation with you privately.

Don’t forget that when you respond to a negative review, the general public can see how you respond, and they can see that you’ve taken the steps to acknowledge what happened and rectify the situation. While it’s uncomfortable to admit to a mistake, it’s much better to acknowledge what happened than to ignore it entirely!

On the flip side, you may get a false review. This could come in the form of a competitor trying to slander your business, someone accidentally reviewing the wrong place, or a difficult customer trying to create more issues. When this happens, don’t freak out. Use the opportunity to explain what really happened.

Is the review from a competitor who is trying to lower your ratings? Politely call them out on their actions and let your community know who they are!

Is the review a case of mistaken identity? Simply explain that you’re the wrong business, and offer up evidence to prove it. For example, you weren’t open that day, you don’t offer a particular product or service being reviewed, or you have no record of the customer interacting with your business.

If the review is from a disgruntled customer who you’ve already attempted to work with and has rejected your offer, don’t be afraid to explain what you’ve already done. 

Whether you’ve refunded their money, offered to exchange their products, deducted meals from their bill or offered them some other compensation, explaining how you’ve tried to resolve the issue in-house will show potential customers that you’re proactive. Once they’ve declined your efforts to resolve any issues, it’s out of your hands!

3) Use it as a learning tool

Part of being a business owner is you’re always learning, and one of the best ways to do it is through negative feedback.

There are two ways you can respond when someone gives you that dreaded one star. 

  1. You can either go into denial, ignore the feedback and just chalk the whole experience up to a difficult customer
  2. Take it in as an opportunity to grow.

Sometimes changes or improvements customers suggest aren’t always reasonable, or not feasible due to cost or impracticality, but always acknowledge their input, action it if possible, and thank the customer for drawing it to your attention!

From a customer’s perspective, seeing a business owner is willing to take on feedback and make improvements is so reassuring. You have comfort that you won’t experience what the previous person complained about, and that the business owner genuinely cares about your experience.

In a world where online reviews are trusted as much as word of mouth from your family (3), being able to see a business has acknowledged negative feedback, taken it on board and improved, is invaluable.

4) Show Improvement

You know those old, one-star reviews that you had from a year ago when things were different? You may be tempted to delete those reviews and forget they ever happened. 

As we mentioned in the first point, 85 per cent of customers will look for positive and negative reviews when they’re considering buying from a business (2).

Those negative reviews prove that your business is legitimate, but they also prove one other important thing: Your business has made an effort to improve!

Use negative reviews to showcase your amazing customer service skills and you’ll have the opportunity to grow and replace those sad,1-star reviews with fabulous 5-star reviews.

While you may not ever be able to remove those 1-star reviews entirely, if you have a negative review that’s a year old and three positive reviews from the last three months, any potential customers will be able to see improvements. Furthermore, if you reply to the negative review and let them know you’ve taken the feedback on board, you’re able to prove that your business has improved!

There is nothing customers love more than knowing you’ve made improvements, and that they will be well looked after. So next time you get an alert to warn you there’s a 1-star review on Google, don’t be afraid of it!

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