Your company just received its first bad review.  Ouch.  It hurts, right?  But have you considered that this might actually be a good thing?

Let’s look at the positive effects of bad reviews.  From their effect on your reputation and consumer actions to the opportunity they give you for growth.

Some Bad Reviews Are a GOOD Thing for Your Reputation

When people see 5 stars all around they actually think it’s too good to be true and that something is amiss.  They wonder, “Are these even all real reviews?” and “Is the company hiding the bad reviews somehow?”

So, you don’t really WANT perfect reviews.  You want to show there is room to improve and evolve and, by posting positive feedback to those less-positive reviews you can make the most of these situations.

Sometimes, people even interact with negative reviews (sharing their own thoughts, reading the company response, etc.) and this has been show to actually increase sales conversions.  Yeah.  We’ll say that one more time.  Negative reviews can directly increase sales conversions.

Negative Reviews are Big Opportunities

Responding to a negative review (in a positive manner) is a huge opportunity for every company.  It allows you to not only address concerns, but also to build relationships, inspire innovation.

Negative reviews help you know what concerns your customers have.  It is only once you have this knowledge that you are able to properly address it.  If your consumers didn’t share these thoughts and experiences with you, how would you evolve?

Listening to consumer complaints is a great way to get ahead of market trends.  Often, negative consumer reviews are not indications that you are doing anything wrong but are, instead, indications that you can do something differently to increase satisfaction in a changing marketplace.  As technology and culture develop over time so, too, do people’s preferences.

Addressing bad reviews builds relationships.  Replying to bad reviews in a constructive and respectful manner allows you to open up a dialogue with your consumers.

Replying to negative reviews helps you connect to silent consumers.  89% of consumers who read online review read the company’s response to negative reviews.  Many of these are the people who, themselves, wouldn’t post their own negative review, especially if that same complaint has already been shared by someone else.  Responding to one person’s complaint can help you answer the complaints and questions of those who choose not to actually post their own.

A lot of reviewers change their reviews after companies take the time to “make it right.”  A customer complains that the product quality wasn’t good – the company sends them a replacement, pays for the shipping, and gives them a coupon or freebie as a bonus.  The reviewer promptly changes her review from 2 stars to 4 stars based on the fact that the company showed it cares.  This is just one example of why many people who leave bad reviews will happily change their reviews when they’ve been dealt with appropriately.

You can use complaints to create content.  Did a customer have a hard time finding something on your website?  You can write a blog post or email about website navigation – either what you’ll do to improve yours, or how people can find their way around.  Did someone not like the way your safety features slowed the performance of some technology?  Write a blog post about the importance of safety features, what happens to warranties if people remove them, and how to remove them if they’re absolutely certain they want to destroy their warrantee.

Effectively Handling Negative Online Reviews

It matters that you stay on top of things.  Timely replies are extremely important since they show that your company takes consumer concerns seriously.  Research has predictably shown that, when companies respond quickly and positively to negative review consumers have a better overall impression of the company than when they do not.

We’ve recently outlined our simple formula for effectively handling negative online reviews.  If you’d like to read more about this formula just CLICK HERE.